Consett ended their four-game goal drought – but it was in vain as high-flying Hebburn Town came from behind to inflict their heaviest defeat of the season at the Green Energy Sports Ground.
With the injured Jake Orrell and suspended Ben Milburn added to the absentees list, manager Tony Fawcett was unable to call on the services of eight first-team players.
It meant he had to reshuffle his pack again, giving starts to two new signings, and bringing two others off the bench as his side’s injury problems went from bad to worse during the game.
Left-back Jack Moody and forward Scott Jasper, signed during the week from Whickham and Ryton respectively, started the game, but neither would finish it.
The opening exchanges were fairly even, with the first real chance falling to Hebburn on 16 minutes, with the effort from Consett skipper Arjun Purewal’s twin brother Amar superbly blocked by stand-in centre-back Matty Slocombe.
Two minutes later the home side appealed for a penalty as Liam Henderson went down under challenge from Moody, but the referee waved their claims away.
On 28 minutes Consett keeper Mark Foden, back on his old stomping ground, made the game’s first save, getting down at his near post to deal comfortably with a Henderson effort.
The home side were beginning to get on top, and on the half hour Olly Martin – their matchwinner when the sides met in the FA Vase final at Wembley – hit a good attempt from just outside the box which flashed narrowly wide.
That seemed to act as a wake-up call for the visitors, and they showed their attacking intent for the first time on 31 minutes when a pass from midfield sent Nathan Greenwood through, but his shot was blocked at the expense of a corner.
From the resulting setpiece Consett had an excellent chance to take the lead when Scott Fenwick’s glancing header brought a fine save out of Shaun Newbrook in the Hebburn goal.
The visitors had the bit between their teeth, however, and on 34 minutes they took the lead with a goal of the season contender. Greenwood beat two men in midfield with a fine piece of skill and his pass found Scott Fenwick on the left, and the No 9 cut inside and fired an unstoppable right-footed shot past Newbrook from 25 yards, pictured below.
Just as Consett looked set to head into the break a goal to the good, Hebburn found an equaliser three minutes before half-time. A half-cleared ball was headed back towards goal by Amar Purewal, and Olly Martin chested the ball down, turned his man and fired home from 10 yards.
Half-time: Hebburn Town 1 Consett 1
If the first half had been fairly even in terms of chances, the second was to be a different story as Consett’s game-plan began to unravel as they picked up yet more injuries.
First, debutant Moody was forced off at the interval after taking a knock to the head, with 41-year-old assistant manager Wayne Buchanan coming on at centre-back to replace him, and the defence reshuffled.
Nine minutes into the half Hebburn took the lead, as Slocombe’s headed clearance fell at the feet of Olly Martin, who despatched the ball past Foden with a fine first-time finish for his second goal of the game.
Consett then had to make two substitutions in the space of three minutes, with Slocombe replaced by Nathan Lawrence – making his third debut for the club after re-signing last week from Sunderland RCA – and Daniel Smith coming on for Jasper.
The next goal was vital, and although Hebburn were pressing hard, Consett almost got it in the 66th minute. A superb ball down the line by Fenwick sent Greenwood scampering down the right, and he cut into the box before getting off a low shot which Newbrook tipped round the post, only for the referee to award a goal kick!
But it was Hebburn who got the next goal, as Buchanan miscontrolled the ball as Consett tried to play their way out from the back, leaving Whitby Town loanee Jake Hackett with just the keeper to beat, which he did with aplomb to make it 3-1.
If the vocal travelling fans feared the goal had put the game out of their side’s reach, that was put beyond doubt four minutes later when Hebburn made it 4-1.
A corner was swung in from the left, and after a goal-line scramble Liam Henderson forced the ball home from a few inches out. Foden claimed he’d been fouled, but the referee waved away his claims.
Right at the death Hebburn made a bad day worse when they broke quickly from a Consett corner, and found themselves with a two-on-one situation.
Amar Purewal beat Mitchell’s attempted tackle in the centre circle, and the ball broke to James Harrison, who had a clear run on goal. The substitute was left with only Foden to beat, and although his shot came back off the post, the rebound fell kindly for him to stroke into the empty net.
The result saw Consett drop three places to 13th, six points clear of the relegation zone, while Hebburn leapfrogged Stockton Town to go second behind runaway leaders Worksop Town.
MATCH REPORT: GARY WELFORD
PICTURES: GARY WELFORD & KENNY TAYLOR
|04/03/2023||3:00 pm||Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One East||2022-23|