Consett put three more valuable points on the board for their Northern League title challenge today with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Guisborough Town.
The Steelmen made three changes to the side which beat Ryhope last week, with James Metcalfe, Ross Wilkinson and Dale Pearson coming into the starting line-up, and a few players in unfamiliar positions.
They got off to the perfect start when Colin Larkin gave them the lead after just two minutes, half-volleying in from inside the six-yard box, pictured top, from Darren Holden’s deep cross.
It was an 11th goal in Consett colours for the veteran striker, who, even at 39, looks like one of the signings of the season.
Guisborough had a good chance to equalise on nine minutes when Jack Blackford, on loan from Marske United, went past two Consett defenders, only to see his shot deflected over the bar.
In the 13th minute a superb Larkin pass sent Pearson through, and as he went to shoot he seemed to be pulled back by James Risbrough on the edge of the area, pictured, but the referee waved play on.
Recent signing Alex Francis tested the home keeper with a well-struck 30-yarder in the 27th minute, while at the other end Joe Bartliff blazed over at the far post when well placed to score.
Calvin Smith then went close with a headed effort from a Jake Orrell free-kick, but home keeper Robbie Deane made a comfortable save down low to his left.
It remained 1-0 at half-time, and Guisborough again dominated the ball after the break, without unduly troubling the resolute Consett defence.
The best chance of the half fell to Orrell on 76 minutes, but his well-struck effort from the edge of the box, pictured, brought the save of the game from Deane.
Five minutes later Consett got a slightly fortunate second goal to clinch the win and three more valuable points. Luke Carr whipped in a free-kick from the right, Dan Capewell got the slightest of touches, and the ball rebounded off the post and in off the helpless Deane.
Consett saw out the rest of the game superbly, and the win meant they stay eight points clear of second-placed Thornaby, who won 1-0 at Crook Town.
The match between third-placed Newton Aycliffe and fourth-placed North Shields was postponed, which leaves the Robins facing something of a fixture pile-up.
They still have 14 league games to play, as well as being in the FA Vase 6th Round and Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final – and that’s not taking into account the League Cup, which hasn’t started yet.
- Full match report, stats and more pictures to follow.