Consett are up and running in the Northern Premier League after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Tadcaster Albion at a blustery Belle View Stadium.
After picking up their first point in the 0-0 draw with North Shields in midweek, expectations were high for a first win for the Steelmen since they were promoted. And they didn’t disappoint, with two first-half goals enough to clinch a very welcome three points.
With manager Andy Coyles still away, his assistant Richie Hill remained in charge, and made just one change to the previous game, with Calvin Smith coming in for the unavailable Darren Holden. He slotted in at right-back, with Karl Byrne switching to the left.
There was an early scare for Consett after six minutes when T’Nique Fishley’s pass sent the lively Jack Carr away down the right, and he fizzed a ball across the six-yard box which no one was able to get on the end of.
Midfielder Kieren Aplin gave the home side the lead in the 10th minute, beating his man with a nice bit of skill and planting the ball in the bottom corner from 22 yards out for the Steelmen’s first goal from open play this season.
Zak Atkinson was causing the visitors’ back four all sorts of problems, never giving defenders a free header or easy clearance, but he was well off-target with a half-chance from a flick-on by skipper Matty Slocombe.
Most of Tadcaster’s attacks were coming down the right, and they had a decent chance on 24 minutes when Nathan Dyer’s cross picked out Carr, but he couldn’t direct his header on target.
Two minutes later a 25-yarder from Lewis Green warmed the palms of goalkeeper Harry Fisk, but the on-loan Hull City man recovered to grab the loose ball before the marauding Atkinson could benefit.
On the half-hour, Consett should have doubled their lead when Tadcaster’s keeper dropped a cross under pressure from Aplin and the ball fell to Atkinson, who looked certain to score, but his shot from close range ended up in the side netting.
On 32 minutes the Brewers had a great chance to equalise when Josh Grant’s free kick found Nathan Curtis, but his header was well saved by Ross Coombe in the Consett goal.
The next chance came at the other end, where Fisk made a vital save at point-blank range on the line as Smith fired goalwards after a spot of penalty box pinball.
Dead ball deliveries from left-back Grant seemed Tadcaster’s best hope of a goal, and Coombe did well to tip one off the head of centre-forward Brett Agnew, with Slocombe completing the clearance as the ball dropped towards goal.
The 41st minute saw Atkinson almost capitalise on a mix-up at the back, but Pete Davidson stepped in to clear the danger as the No 9 set up Jake Orrell.
But Consett deservedly went into the break with a two-goal lead when Jake Orrell fired home in the 44th minute, pictured top, after playing a great one-two with Aplin.
Half-time: Consett 2 Tadcaster Albion 0
Consett had ended the first half in control, but the visitors reduced the arrears within two minutes of the restart. Grant’s cross was headed down by Agnew, and skipper Cody Cromack netted with a diving header.
The goal signalled Tadcaster’s best spell of the game, and Agnew wasn’t far away from connecting with another Grant free kick as they pressed for another goal.
Consett were looking dangerous on the counter-attack, and Cromack took one for the team when he was yellow carded for illegally halting one quick break upfield.
On 56 minutes things threatened to boil over as Green was hacked down as he surged forward from midfield, and Davidson and Dan Hartley were both booked for their roles in the incident. On 67 minutes sub Corey Roper joined them in the book for exactly the same offence.
There was an almighty scramble in the Consett box on 71 minutes from a left-wing corner, but the Steelmen somehow survived, and that was the last real threat to their lead.
They almost had a third goal in the 82nd minutes when Karl Byrne, playing on the opposite flank to usual, cut in and drilled the ball towards the near post, but Fisk did well to save with his feet.
And in the first of four added minutes substitute Dan Marriott had a chance to seal the win when he was played through, but dragged his shot wide with a defender snapping at his heels.
It mattered not, as another impressive hard-working all-round team performance meant they deservedly picked up the first win at the new level.
MATCH REPORT: GARY WELFORD
PICTURES: GARY WELFORD & STEPHEN FINCH
|20/08/2022||3:00 pm||Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One East||2022-23|