Dale Pearson’s ninth goal in his last seven games gave Consett a 4-3 win over Thornaby in a cracking League Cup encounter at Belle View Stadium. The victory means that with one game still to play, the Steelmen are virtually assured of progressing to the knockout stage of the competition.
Manager Terry Mitchell again used the game to ring the changes, with Nick Allen, David Brown, Simon Jakab, Calvin Smith and Andrei-Vasile Ardelean brought into the starting line-up from the weekend. A very strong bench included rested skipper Arjun Purewal, which meant Luke Carr wore the captain’s armband, just three days after being sent off at West Auckland.
Thornaby had shown in a 1-1 draw in the league back in August that they were not to be underestimated, and they showed they meant business right from the off. Consett went to sleep at a throw-in, the ball was crossed in deep from the right, headed back into the middle, where visiting captain Joe Scaife-Wheatley was on hand to make it 1-0.
It took just four minutes for Consett to level, as Thornaby failed to deal with a corner, and in the resulting six-yard box chaos Andrei-Vasile Ardelean headed in from close range to make it 1-1.
It was a good, open game, with both sides intent on attacking, and Pearson almost gave Consett the lead in the 16th minute with a cross from the left which caught on the breeze and hit the bar. Five minutes later Nick Allen almost with a fine acrobatic effort from a left-wing cross, but Thornaby keeper Adrian Beblowski pulled off a superb save, diving low to his right to scoop the ball away.
Brown and Smith had efforts which failed to hit the target, then on the half-hour Beblowski stood up well to save from Pearson, and Consett penalty claims were waved away as Ali Alshabeeb appeared to be fouled as he prepared to finish the loose ball. Seconds later the Steelmen were behind again, as a swift counter-attack saw Thornaby striker Daniel Chapman make it 2-1.
Consett responded immediately, and Pearson had two chances in a matter of seconds, with his first shot beaten out by the keeper, and the second blocked by some determined defending. Smith then glanced a header across the face of goal, with no one able to apply a finishing touch, from Carr’s corner as the Steelmen piled on the pressure.
Alshabeeb outpaced two defenders to run onto a through ball, only to put his shot wrong side of the post, and when Carr did get the ball in the net in the 36th minute, he was ruled offside. But a minute before half-time Consett got the goal their pressure deserved when Alshabeeb found Luke Carr at the end of a mazy dribble, and the No 10 finished into the bottom corner.
The first minute of added time saw Consett go in front for the first time in the game, with a superb goal from top scorer Calvin Smith. The midfielder picked the ball up 20 yards out, looked up, and curled an unstoppable effort into the top-right corner for a quite wonderful goal.
Half-time: Consett 3 Thornaby 2
The start of the second half saw Consett resume where they had left off, attacking at will. Smith hit a well-struck drive from 25 yards straight at the keeper, and Carr fired over the bar after good work by Alshabeeb, cutting in from the right. But Thornaby looked dangerous on the break all night, and in the 56th minute Ian Ward made it 3-3 via the underside of the bar.
The last half an hour belonged to Consett, and if it hadn’t been for Thornaby keeper Beblowski, the home side would have enjoyed a comfortable victory. The keeper beat Alshabeeb to Smith’s through ball, and then made fine saves from Carr, sub Jake Orrell and Alshabeeb.
Just when it looked like the game would end all-square, Dale Pearson got what proved to be the winner in the 80th minute. Carr fed the ball to the in-form striker on the edge of the box, and he unleashed a left-footed thunderbolt into the top corner to make it 4-3. Smith, Orrell and Ross Wilkinson had chances to add to the scoreline in the closing stages, but were denied by a combination of good goalkeeping and snatched finishes. When the final whistle went, the disappointing crowd of 160 applauded both teams warmly off the field, after a close-fought game which had produced some excellent football.
MATCH REPORT & PICTURES: GARY WELFORD
CONSETT: 1 Kyle Hayes, 2 Nick Allen, 3 David Brown, 4 Jake Stafford (sub Jake Orrell 62), 5 Simon Jakab, 6 Ross Wilkinson, 7 Ali Alshabeeb, 8 Calvin Smith, 9 Dale Pearson, 10 Luke Carr (captain), 11 Andrei-Vasile Ardelean (sub Jermaine Metz 81). Subs not used: Matty Slocombe, Arjun Purewal, Darren Holden.
THORNABY: 1 Adrian Beblowski, 2 Stephen Morrison (sub Lewis Murphy 56), 3 Luke Drummond, 4 Lewis Green, 5 Nathan Guru, 6 Alex Dougall, 7 Joe Scaife-Wheatley (captain), 8 Liam Cooke, 9 Daniel Chapman, 10 Ian Ward (sub Benjamin Jackson 78), 11 Joe Posthill.
|08/10/2019||7:45 pm||League Cup||2019-20|