On this day in our history: 9 April 2011 – Consett share another goal-fest with Bishop Auckland

There was plenty of entertainment at our old Belle Vue Park ground on this day in 2011 as Consett and Bishop Auckland shared six goals for the second time in what was their fourth meeting of the season, on Northern League Day.

David Hagan, who was caretaker manager after boss Kenny Lindoe’s heart attack the previous month, made four changes to the Steelmen’s starting line-up from the team beaten at Billingham Synthonia in the previous game. Out went young goalkeeper Peter Jameson, the injured Mark Eccles and Gavin Barton and, surprisingly, top scorer Jamie Poole. Into their places came first-choice No 1 Barry Poskett, midfielders Danny Craggs and Andrew Cuthbertson, and young forward Gavin Ross.

Bishops had three future Steelmen in their ranks – goalkeeper Peter Jeffries, wide man Chris Bell, and a young striker by the name of Daniel Hawkins, who had scored the Two Blues’ first goal at their new Heritage Park ground when the sides met back in November – a game which Consett won 3-2. They were under the control of Colin Myers, who would go on to have a spell as Consett manager.

Consett’s Richie Slaughter under pressure from Wayne Gredziak. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

On a glorious sunny day, Bishops kicked off and were straight on the attack, with Dion Raitt firing wide inside the first 30 seconds. At the other end, Ross was twice thwarted by visiting keeper Jeffries, who was twice off his line to the edge of his area to beat him to the ball after he was played in by Marc Walton.

Wayne Gredziak set up strike partner Hawkins as the game to’d and fro’d, but the No 9 hit his effort over the bar. Consett were lucky not to go behind in the seventh minute when a sloppy pass by Richard Slaughter put Bishops in again, but Hawkins delayed his shot, and Craggs was able to get back to clear the danger.

After eight minutes Consett went ahead, with Craggs finishing from inside the six-yard box after Cuthbertson’s mishit shot had been blocked. A couple of minutes later Dale Burrell had a chance to make it two, but ballooned his shot high and wide after cutting in from the left.

Danny Craggs makes it 1-0 to Consett. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

On 13 minutes Bishops had Jeffries to thank for a remarkable treble save. First he spread himself well to deny Jonjo Dickman, then he got up to palm Cuthbertson’s follow-up onto the post. The ball ran along the goal-line, past the other post, where it was picked up by Ross, but the keeper blocked his effort from an acute angle.

You had to feel sorry for Jeffries when, a minute later, he conceded a simple goal. Burrell picked the ball up on the left, ran at his man, and, as he cut into the box, finishing across the keeper and into the bottom-right corner.

The euphoria didn’t last long, however, as Daniel O’ Donnell reduced the deficit on 17 minutes with an unstoppable strike. The ball was cleared from a corner and fell to the former St Johnstone man 30 yards out, and he gave Poskett no chance, smashing it into the top left corner.

Peter Jeffries saves from Jonjo Dickman at point-blank range. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Walton hit a right-foot shot just over from the edge of the box after being played in by stand-in skipper Craig Robson, but on 26 minutes Consett were made to pay when the Two Blues equalised. The home crowd were stunned as Cumbrian referee Chris Backhouse awarded a penalty against Graham Irving as he contested a high ball in the air with Gredziak, apparently for handball. The No 10 took the spot-kick, and although Poskett saved it, diving to his left, Gredziak was first to the loose ball to make it 2-2.

Wayne Gredziak follows up his saved penalty to score for Bishops. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

The game was end-to-end, and Burrell looked to have set up Ross to restore Consett’s lead when he picked him out with a cross from the left, but full-back Wayne Clark made a superb challenge to deny him, at the expense of a corner. Craggs then hit a low shot straight at Jeffries, and Cuthbertson hit a rising effort over the bar after being set up by Walton.

Bishops had the last chance of the half, with Poskett diving low to his right to turn Chris Bell’s effort round the post, and when the interval came with the score at 2-2, that seemed a fair reflection, based on chances created.

Consett suffered a blow at the start of the second half when Ross failed to re-emerge, as his pace had been causing problems for the Bishops rearguard. Poole replaced him, with Craggs pushing up front.

The opening exchanges of the second half saw some hefty tackles going in, and Raitt was perhaps lucky only to see yellow for a waist-high lunge on Poole. The Bishops No 6 then showed the good side of his game, almost beating Poskett with a curling shot into the far corner.

Marc Walton contests a ball in the air with Dion Raitt. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Walton brought a good diving save from Jeffries with a well-struck 25-yarder, and Burrell prodded a shot over from Dickman’s right-wing cross.

On 63 minutes Bishops took the lead for the first time in the game, and again it was than man Gredziak, who troubled the home defence all afternoon. Raitt’s free-kick from 25 yards was pushed onto the bar by Poskett, and Gredziak reacted first to net the rebound.

This time it was the visitors’ lead which didn’t last long, as Craggs got on the end of Walton’s flick from Slaughter’s free-kick to toe-poke the ball just inside the post.

Jonjo Dickman and Danny Craggs get in each other’s way. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

The goal took the total of goals scored in the four games between the sides this season to 22, but although there was plenty of perspiration in the last quarter of the game, no one came close to winning it unti Gredziak dragged a shot across the face of goal right at the death.

Wins for Spennymoor, Shildon and Benfield meant Consett lost ground on the three sides above them at the start of play, but Whitley Bay’s unexpected defeat at home to Ashington, which brought their 18-game winning run to an end, meant the Steelmen stayed fourth. They would go on to be league runners-up, while Bishop Auckland finished 14th.

Consett: 1 Barry Poskett, 2 Richie Slaughter, 3 Anthony Lund, 4 Craig Robson, 5 Graham Irving, 6 Andrew Cuthbertson, 7 Danny Craggs, 8 Jonjo Dickman, 9 Marc Walton, 10 Gavin Ross (sub Jamie Poole 46), 11 Dale Burrell (sub Mark Patterson 62). Subs not used: Michael Coulthard, Peter Jameson

Bishop Auckland: 1 Jeffries, 2 Clark (sub Lawson 46), 3 Dixon, 4 Brumwell, 5 O’ Donnell, 6 Raitt, 7 C.Bell (sub Strong 57), 8 Turnbull (sub Richardson 69), 9 Hawkins, 10 Gredziak, 11 Atkinson. Subs not used: Brown, Everitt.

Gary Welford