carlton

Patched-up Consett come close to grabbing a point at play-off contenders Carlton Town

A Consett side depleted to way beyond the bare bones were beaten 2-1 at play-off hopefuls Carlton Town today – but came close to taking a point they deserved.

Manager Tony Fawcett was without the services of eight first-team players, and with the 11 he had left to choose from including two goalkeepers, had no option but to name himself in the starting XI.

The 44-year-old donned the No 9 shirt 12 years after hanging up his boots, and played the first 45 minutes before being replaced for the second half by his only sub – goalkeeper James Anderson.

But a brave performance by the Steelmen saw them denied only by a superb display by Carlton keeper Felix Annan, who made the save of the season at 0-0.

It came in the 16th minute when Arjun Purewal powered a header goalwards from a right-wing corner and Annan pulled off an unbelievable stop, pictured top, with a defender scrambling the ball to safety. Even then Consett might have been awarded a penalty, as Fawcett was dragged to the ground as he went for the loose ball.

Carlton took the lead on 37 minutes when Niall Hylton broke down the left and crossed to the near post, where Alex Hardwick finished from close range.

It remained 1-0 at half-time, but the hosts started the second half well and Hardwick was denied a second goal a couple of minutes in by Consett keeper Kelechi Chibueze.

But there was nothing the Sunderland U23s loanee could do in the 49th minute when Carlton attacked again down the left and the ball ended at the feet of Niall Hylton, who finished into the roof of the net.

Consett stayed in the game, and almost got themselves back in it on 78 minutes when a through ball left Wil Shaw in a one-on-one with Annan, and the keeper raced off his line to deny him.

Five minutes later it was game on when Annan made another superb save from Kaleb Young’s 25-yarder, only to see Wil Shaw pounce on the rebound to fire home his 16th goal of the season.

Carlton, who needed a win to all-but-guarantee their place in the play-offs, did everything they could to see the game out, and the frustration proved too much for Jack Gibbons, who was shown a straight red card in the fifth added minute after a fracas following time-wasting in the corner.

It was a sad end to a wonderfully spirited performance, where the only 12 available registered players did the club and their travelling support proud, only to lose by the finest of margins – and a top-drawer performance by Felix The Cat.

  • Full match report, stats, video and picture gallery to follow.

Gary Welford