Consett’s first-ever trip to Long Eaton United’s Grange Park ground ended in a 1-1 draw, although the Steelmen may feel slightly disappointed to have not taken all three after playing for the last quarter-of-an-hour against ten men.
The game got off to a sensational start with both goals being scored in the first ten minutes. The home side took the lead with barely four minutes on the clock. Jamie Walker crossed from the left wing and the ball somehow found its way into the Consett via a deflection which totally deceived Mark Foden.
The lead didn’t last long though as Consett levelled the scores four minutes later. Karl Byrne crossed from the right wing, Kieren Aplin played the ball back across goal and Matty Slocombe was on hand to force the ball home from six yards
After the early fireworks, the game settled down into a more attritional affair with neither side managing to gain the upper hand. Long Eaton’s best chance of the half fell to Kam Campbell in the 36th minute, who drilled in a low shot from inside the area, which Foden initially spilled but safely gathered the rebound.
Two minutes before the break Zak Atkinson saw a header from an Even Horwood cross loop just over the bar, and the break was reached with the score 1-1.
After the break, the game became much more feisty with referee, who had kept his cards in his pocket in the first half, force to issue a number of yellows to both sides.
Consett were creating the better chances in the second half, and a great strike from Adam Mitchell in the 58th minute was brilliantly tipped over by the Long Eaton keeper, Mitchell Leivers. From the resulting corner, the ball ended up in the Long Eaton net but the referee spotted a foul and disallowed it.
Nine minutes later, Consett had the best chance of the half when Byrne’s cross from the right was flicked on by Atkinson and Cyril Giraud, with almost his first touch after coming on as a substitute, stretched for it and stabbed the ball over from close in.
With sixteen minutes remaining, Luke Cox picked up a second yellow card, and the home side were down to ten men. Consett were unable to capitalise, although they did force Leivers to pull off an even better save than his earlier effort from Mitchell. Byrne crossed from the right, and a spectacular flying volley from Lewis Green brought a superb reaction save from the home custodian.
Honours were even at the final whistle, after highly entertaining and competitive Northern Premier League match.
Full match report and pictures here.