Big defender Dan Capewell was the toast of Belle View Stadium as his late, late goal gave Consett a 3-2 win over Cleethorpes Town.
He popped up in the visitors’ penalty area in the fourth minute of added time at the end of the game to steer the ball home and give the Steelmen a dramatic victory.
The result is a huge boost to their bid towards securing safety in the Northern Premier League Division One East, taking them seven points clear of the relegation play-off places.
Manager Tony Fawcett was able to name the same starting XI as he had for Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Sheffield – a luxury he hasn’t had too often since he took the hotseat.
Even more notable was the strength of the bench, with Adam Mitchell, Scott Fenwick, Zak Atkinson and Kieren Aplin joining sub keeper Ross Coombe, to give the 16 some real depth.
Cleethorpes parted company with their manager last week, and had seen their last two games postponed, so were champing at the bit to show their interim management what they could do, and they started the game well.
On four minutes they broke quickly down the left and Jack McMenemy fed Curtis Bateson, whose shot didn’t unduly trouble Mark Foden in the Consett goal.
Seven minutes later Bateson was involved again, cutting in from the left and testing Foden with a good strike, which the keeper touched onto the bar and out for a corner.
Consett weren’t having a lot of joy against a well-drilled Cleethorpes defence, and it was 19 minutes before they created their first chance, Dylan Garvey’s pass getting Danny Barlow in behind, but the No 9’s effort was smothered by Clee keeper Leigh Overton.
Midfielder Sam Topliss tried his luck from distance as Cleethorpes attacked again, but again Foden saved, and the Consett keeper was tested again a few minutes later when Bateson cut in and went for the near post.
It was against the run of play that Consett took the lead in the the 37th minute, when right-back Josh Baggs fired home a rebound after Dylan Garvey’s header from Calvin Smith’s cross was saved by the keeper.
However, the lead lasted only six minutes, as Cleethorpes broke quickly from defending a Consett free-kick, and dangerman Curtis Bateson beat Foden to a long ball and lobbed it into the unguarded net.
Half-time: Consett 1 Cleethorpes Town 1
Cleethorpes had been the better side in the first half, and took the lead within three minutes of the restart when Consett failed to deal with a corner, and Edwin Essel finished from close range. It was the second time the pacy striker, on loan from Grimsby Town, had scored against the Steelmen this season, after he equalised for Grimsby Borough in our 2-2 draw there back in December.
The goal gave the visitors a lead they probably deserved, and within a few minutes Consett made a change, bringing on striker Scott Fenwick for left-back Garvey in a bold attacking move.
Capewell had the home side’s first effort on goal in the 65th minute, but his header from Barlow’s right-wing corner was straight at the keeper. But a goal wasn’t far away, and Consett equalised on 71 minutes when Danny Barlow collected the ball after the keeper made an unbelievable point-blank save from skipper Arjun Purewal, and curled it home for his first goal for the club.
The Steelmen weren’t happy with a point, and the last 20 minutes saw them begin to dominate for the first time in the game. Just when it seemed like they were going to have to settle for a point, Jake Orrell floated a cross into the box and Dan Capewell was there to meet it from six yards to score the winner, and send the majority of the 363 crowd home happy.
Back-to-back wins mean Consett climbed to 10th in the table, with 43 points, with four games remaining. Although they’re not safe yet, one more win would almost certainly guarantee Step 4 football next season.
MATCH REPORT: GARY WELFORD
PICTURES: KEITH MARLEY, KENNY TAYLOR & GARY WELFORD
|Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One East