Consett dropped out of the play-off places on goal difference after being beaten by nearest neighbours Dunston in front of the highest Belle View attendance this season.
But the Steelmen – who were missing key men Ben Ramsey and Arjun Purewal – were left feeling hard done by after being denied what looked like a stonewall penalty when the game was still goalless.
Zak Atkinson and Josh Baggs returned to the Steelmen’s starting line-up, but it was top scorer Wil Shaw who had the first chance on four minutes when he hooked the ball over visiting keeper Dan Staples, but a defender got back to clear before Dan Capewell could head home.
Atkinson had a half chance, but blazed over, then Wil Shaw’s shot had the pace taken off it by a defender’s challenge.
At the other end, Jack Maskell was sent clean through on 15 minutes by Michael Pearson’s pass, but James Anderson stood up well to save. Then on 26 minutes Chris McDonald’s cross picked out midfielder David Robinson, whose free header hit the post.
Kaleb Young fired over from 25 yards after driving forward from midfield, then the lively Maskell went close again, bringing another save from Anderson as the sides traded chances.
Consett’s best chance of an even half came on 38 minutes, when Jake Orrell threatened to slalom through the whole Dunston defence, but was denied by a superb tackle by Josh King.
Half-time: Consett 0 Dunston 0
The visitors started the second half stronger. Maskell headed over from Phil Turnbull’s corner, and Luke Carr and McDonald both fired efforts off target.
There was a crucial moment on 66 minutes when Consett had a strong penalty appeal. The ball clearly hit McDonald’s hand as Jack Gibbons tried to knock it past him, but the protests were waved away by the referee.
Five minutes later the visitors took the lead when Dale Pearson – one of five ex-Consett players in the Dunston side – broke down the left and crossed for David Robinson to score from close range.
Consett pressed hard for an equaliser, and Gibbons flashed a shot wide after good work down the left by Atkinson. But Dunston were defending their box superbly, throwing bodies in front of everything.
But they were caught on the break five minutes into added time when David Robinson finished from out wide on the left, catching Anderson out of his goal and sliding the ball into the empty net after the keeper went up for a last-gasp corner, pictured top.
The result saw Consett drop to sixth on goal difference, while the result made it six wins in a row for Dunston, and seven games unbeaten, with four games in hand on all their fellow play-off hopefuls.
MATCH REPORT: GARY WELFORD
PICTURES: KENNY TAYLOR & KEITH MARLEY
|Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One East