On this day in our history: 27 April 2011 – Barton batters Benfield to avenge Consett’s biggest defeat of season

Consett exacted sweet revenge on Newcastle Benfield for their heaviest defeat of the season on this day in 2011, to go second in the league.

An inspired half-time substitution and second-half goal blitz saw them leapfrog over their visitors and Whitley Bay, as well as take their goal tally past 100 in the league for the season.

David Hagan, still in caretaker charge after manager Kenny Lindoe’s heart attack the previous month, made three changes to the side which beat his old club Tow Law on Easter Monday. Teenager Peter Jameson replaced Barry Poskett in goal, Richard Forster came into central defence for Carl Piecha, and Dale Burrell replaced Richard Slaughter wide on the right.

Benfield, who had knocked their hosts out of the League Cup at Belle Vue five weeks earlier, included one ex-Steelman, Brian Dodsworth, who had scored twice in their 4-2 extra-time win, in their line-up.

Consett and Benfield shake hands before the game. Pic: Gary Welford.

The visitors, who had inflicted a 5-1 defeat on the Steelmen back in August, started brighter, and their first chance came on seven minutes, when Chris Feasey’s snap-shot from the edge of the box looked to have Jameson beaten, but arrowed just wide of his right-hand post. Dodsworth then tested the young keeper with a shot which he saved comfortably at the near post.

On 11 minutes Burrell put Consett in all sorts of problems when he lost possession to Stuart Wright in the right-back position. The No 11 crossed hard and low to the front post for Dodsworth, but Ryan Bell did well to get a challenge in, at the expense of a corner. The same Benfield pair combined from the flag-kick, but Dodsworth put his header straight at the keeper.

Having rode the early pressure, Consett slowly came into the game, and Marc Walton had a decent chance on 16 minutes, when he chased a through ball into the box, and got away a shot before being flattened by Benfield keeper Colin Paxton. The referee waved away Walton’s appeals for a penalty. The incident seemed to fire up Walton, and a minute later he tried a shot on the turn, but hit it straight at the keeper.

Consett striker Marc Walton holds up the ball. Pic: Gary Welford.

On 27 minutes Consett had a remarkable double save from Jameson to thank for preventing them falling behind. A cross from the right was headed powerfully goalwards by Wright from inside the six-yard box, and the 18-year-old made a fine save. The Benfield player looked certain to net the rebound, until the grounded Jameson stuck out a leg and booted the loose ball away.

There were no further scoring opportunities, and the teams reached the interval at 0-0, with Benfield having had the better chances by far. In a bold move, Hagan brought on Gavin Barton, who had missed the previous five games, for the second half, joining Walton and Lewis Teasdale in a three-man attack.

Within three minutes of the restart it had paid dividends, as Barton broke the deadlock. Jamie Poole started the move out on the left, passing to Anthony Lund, who ran at the Benfield defence. As he reached the edge of the area he slipped the ball to Walton, whose initial shot was blocked by the keeper. Barton was first to react, picking up possession and taking a touch to steady himself before tucking the ball away into the bottom-left corner.

Consett’s Jamie Poole delivers from a wide position. Pic: Gary Welford.

Two minutes later it was 2-0, and this time Barton turned provider. Poole’s ball forward was headed on by Teasdale, and Barton waited for Walton’s run into the box before picking him out. The No 9 took a touch and prodded the ball home across the keeper for his fourth goal in as many games.

Walton almost made it three when he latched onto a long ball from Danny Craggs, but shot into the side netting, and Forster put a header from a Craggs free-kick straight at the keeper.

Benfield almost found a way back into the game when they sprung Consett’s offside trap and Shaun Bell’s shot hit the post, with Craggs getting in a superb block on Wright’s follow-up.

The next goal was a crucial one, and when it came on 64 minutes it fell to Consett. Richard Slaughter, on as a sub for Anthony Lund, delivered a pinpoint cross from near the right-hand corner flag, and Barton aimed a firm header down to the keeper’s right. Paxton seemed to have it covered, but the ball squirmed from his grasp and over the line. It was Consett’s 100th league goal of the season, and Barton’s 24th, drawing him level with top scorer Jamie Poole.

Consett keeper Peter Jameson gets up highest. Pic Ron Aitcheson.

Barton almost grabbed his hat-trick two minutes later when Paul Antony’s stray pass fell to him and he tried to curl a shot inside the far post, but didn’t get enough bend on it. The unmarked Walton would surely have scored if he had passed, but things were going so well for Barton that no one blamed him for going for goal himself.

The visitors had a great chance to reduce the arrears when a long ball found substitute Johnny Mann, who looked a certain scorer as he honed in on goal, but Jameson got fingertips to his shot to turn it round the far post.

With three minutes remaining, Consett got a fourth, and Barton completed his hat-trick, picking up substitute Mark Patterson’s mishit shot, and sticking it away from close range. He celebrated with a somersault, as the goal marked his second treble of the season and took him one ahead of Poole in the race to be top scorer.

Dodsworth, who could have earlier seen red for lashing out at Ryan Bell after they contested a header, almost grabbed a consolation right at the death, but Jameson capped an excellent performance by palming his well-struck effort over the bar.

Not this time … Consett’s Marc Walton goes close. Pic: Ron Aitcheson.

When the final whistle went Consett had moved up to second in the table, having turned round a four-goal deficit on Benfield, though both they and Whitley Bay, who dropped to third, had two games left to play.

Bizarrely, despite scoring a second-half hat-trick, Gavin Barton found himself on the bench again for the next game – and came on again and scored two more goals as Consett beat Ashington 2-1 to confirm them as runners-up to champions Spennymoor Town.

Benfield would finish fourth, though gained some consolation in the form of the League Cup, beating Spennymoor in the final to prevent them making it a league and cup double.

Consett: 1 Peter Jameson, 2 Ryan Bell, 3 Anthony Lund (sub Richie Slaughter 56), 4 Craig Robson (captain), 5 Richard Forster (sub Mark Patterson 77), 6 Andrew Cuthbertson, 7 Dale Burrell (sub Gavin Barton 46), 8 Danny Craggs, 9 Marc Walton, 10 Lewis Teasdale, 11 Jamie Poole. Sub not used: carl Piecha.
Benfield: 1 C.Paxton, 2 Turnbull, 3 Paterson, 4 Antony, 5 Leighton (captain), 6 R.Paxton, 7 Feasey (sub Mann 60), 8 S.Bell, 9 Dodsworth, 10 Chilton (sub S.Fenwick 70), 11 Wright. Subs not used: R.Fenwick, Finnigan, Bangura.

Gary Welford