It’s been 10 years since we played a game on this date, and it brought a rare home win in a remarkably lop-sided season.
Chester-le-Street were our opponents, and it’s a game they won’t thank us to recall, as we relegated them from the 1st Division with a 3-1 win.
Our final Belle Vue Park game of the season, it was only our fifth home win in a season where we picked up maximum points 14 times on our travels – an away record bettered by only champions Spennymoor Town.
The programme was under no illusions about the sad state of affairs, which had seen home attendances plummet.
“There’s no getting away from it, it’s an awful record, and we should be thankful that our away form has been so good. Thirteen away wins (with two games still to play) is championship form; four wins at home is the mark of relegation fodder.
“No, the pitch doesn’t help, the lack of home games in the start and middle of the season didn’t either [we didn’t have a home game between December 5 and February 20], and it can’t have been much fun playing in front of what amounts to not much more than one man and his dog as our season tailed off.”
A glance at the record books shows Consett were without a home win in their last eight games, with their previous home success coming in a 1-0 win over West Allotment Celtic on 6 March. We had used a staggering 45 players during the course of the season.
Our third-bottom visitors were desperate for points too in their bid to avoid the drop, and it was a case of ‘here we go again’ when we conceded the first goal on 13 minutes.
Kyle Bird hit a free-kick into the box for Andy Armstrong to head down, and Nathan Fisher – who’d played one game for us at the start of the season, before departing for Chester, where he’d become the league’s top scorer! – fired in.
Consett rallied, and equalised after 33 minutes when Armstrong was penalised for pulling Gary Ormston back inside the area, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Goalkeeper Ian Aitken pulled off a great save to turn Steven Huggins‘ penalty onto the post, but the midfielder reacted quickest to fire home the rebound.
The Steelmen took the lead just before the hour, when Andy Cuthbertson, who was facing his old club, got to the left byline and crossed for top scorer Gary Ormston to head home for his 16th goal of the season.
The result wasn’t sealed until the final minute, when Huggins played a great crossfield pass to Sean Best, who cut into the box and fired in a shot which was deflected past his own keeper by the unlucky Armstrong.
A draw at Bedlington and a win at Morpeth in our last two away games lifted Consett to 10th, while this defeat and another in their final game at Penrith saw Chester-le-Street’s 12-year stay in the top flight come to an end.
Consett: 1 Sam Grieveson, 2 Andrew Burton, 3 David Pounder, 4 Jonjo Dickman, 5 Graham Irving, 6 Paul Collins, 7 Steven Huggins, 8 Andrew Cuthbertson, 9 Guy Bates (sub Brian Dodsworth), 10 Gavin Parkin (sub Sean Best), 11 Gary Ormston.