Consett got the new season off to a good start with a hard fought 1-0 victory against newly promoted Northallerton at Belle View Stadium. A second half strike from Calvin Smith was all that separated the sides on a wet afternoon.
New manager Terry Mitchell gave competitive starts to three players in Andrei Ardelean, Jermaine Metz and Ali Alshabeeb, while another debutant came from the bench in the form of Lewis McGeoch. Due to injuries and holidays Nick Allen played in an unfamiliar centre back roll, while following a successful trial the returning David Brown played at left back allowing Darren Holden to continue in the more advanced role that had been so successful in pre season.
The Steelmen started the game on the front foot and only had to wait until the seventh minute for the first chance of the game as a long ball down the right from Metz found new centre forward Ardelean in a good position but the Romanian strikers clever lob had just a bit too much power and went over the bar.
An even better chance arrived in the sixteenth minute as Calvin Smith whipped in a fantastic cross from the right hand side which found Darren Holden in space 8 yards out however his volley was well saved by Thomas Dawson in the Northallerton goal.
Following those early scares the visitors started to grow into the game and thought they had taken the lead on 20 minutes through winger Shaun Hudson only for the home side to be saved by the assistant referees flag. There was a hint of controversy about the decision with the suggestion being that the ball had been played through to Hudson by a Consett player.
Two minutes later Northallerton had a clear cut chance to take the lead as the impressive Hudson played James Rowe clean through on goal only for the midfielder to be denied by a customary save by Kyle Hayes with his feet.
Consett tried to respond but while they were dominating possession they were frustrated by a combination of some poor passing and a hard working and well organised Northallerton side. This almost changed on 32 minutes as they launched the best move of the match, Matty Slocombe surged forward and following a series of quick passes with Arderlean and then Holden found himself with a shooting opportunity from a tight angle, which Dawson did well to save.
Unfortunately, that didn’t act as a springboard for a late assault on the Northallerton goal and the half finished goalless and the first division new boys the happier looking of the two sides as the players left the field.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first had ended and it started to look as though the Belle View faithful may be in for a frustrating afternoon.
What was to prove to be the winning goal came out of nothing on 53 minutes. The Northallerton defence had the ball and were under no real pressure but fantastic work from Ardelean saw him close down and then block an attempted clearance, the striker then played the ball onto Holden who cut the ball back from the bye line where Calvin Smith was waiting 8 yards out and the midfielder made no mistake, finishing into the bottom right corner.
After going behind, Northallerton attempted to push forward more and this left lots of space for Consett to attack on the break but as with much of the first half, some poor decisions and final balls meant the attacks kept breaking down in the final third.
Chances came and went, the best of which fell to Ali Alshabeeb who rattled a shot against the post after a surging run down the right. Substitute Josh Gray also went close, but the game looked to be petering out before a flurry of activity right at the end of the game.
Firstly, on 90 minutes Jermaine Metz made a tremendous run down the right and after the referee had played a good advantage his cross found Ardelean who had his shot well blocked, the rebound fell to substitute Lewis McGeoch who looked certain to score from close range, only to see his effort excellently saved by Dawson.
Despite playing some neat football, Northallerton hadn’t created any real chances in the second half but you felt as though one was bound to come along and sure enough they had a gilt-edged chance to equalise in the 91st minute as an excellent cross from the left found Nathan Callendar all alone 6 yards out but he somehow headed over with the goal at this mercy.
There was one final chance in the 92nd minute as Smith almost doubled his goal tally with a 25 yard pile driver but Dawson saved well again palming the ball away to safety.
The referees final whistle was created with a certain amount of relief by the home support and while Consett will undoubtedly need to raise their game for tougher tests ahead, a win and a clean sheet sent the majority of the 428 crowd home happy.
CONSETT: 1. Kyle Hayes, 2. Jermaine Metz, 3. David Brown (sub Lewis McGeoch 76), 4. Matthew Slocombe, 5. Arjun Purewal (captain), 6. Nick Allen, 7. Ali Alshabeeb (sub Josh Gray 80), 8. Calvin Smith, 9. Andrei-Vasile Ardelean, 10. Luke Carr, 11. Darren Holden. Subs not used: Adam Male, Dan Hawkins, Joe Sloan.
NORTHALLERTON: 1. Thomas Dawson, 2. Andrew Shepherd (sub Damon Reaks 84), 3. Karl Hewitt, 4. Stephen Cheeseman, 5. Daniel Jones (captain), 6. Jack Proctor, 7. Callum Smith, 8. James Rowe, 9. Nicholas Martin, 10. Nathan Callender, 11. Shaun Hudson (sub Connor Lowes 58). Sub not used: Jack Howe.
MATCH REPORT: ANDY BALL
PICTURES: JOHN PAUL HARDY
|03/08/2019||3:00 pm||Northern League Division One||2019-20|