Consett made it two wins out of two as they won their opening away game of the season at Northallerton Town 2-1.
But it took two second-half goals from substitutes Colin Larkin and Ryan King to secure the points after the Steelmen went behind early on and trailed for almost an hour.
Terry Mitchell’s side showed two changes from Saturday’s win over Seaham, with Darren Holden coming in at left-back for Charlie Exley, skipper Arjun Purewal starting in place of the injured Ross Wilkinson, and Dan Marriott making just his second start in midfield for Luke Carr (working).
With Nick Allen isolating, the Steelmen’s options in defence were limited, which meant Calvin Smith again being deployed as a centre-back, alongside Purewal.
Northallerton went ahead after just three minutes, when veteran striker Michael Rae finished from a right-wing cross.
He could have added a second when clean through on 31 minutes, but shot inches wide of the far post. And it took a last-ditch challenge from Purewal to put off left-back Dylan McEvoy as he surged through on goal.
Consett had plenty of the ball but offered little in the way of real attacking threat in the opening half, and the Northallerton keeper didn’t have a save to make.
Dale Pearson fired a couple of efforts well over the bar, while Carl Lawson ballooned one, but the Steelmen’s first-half performance was strangely lethargic and lacking any real penetration.
Half-time: Northallerton Town 1 Consett 0
Marriott picked up the game’s first booking for a foul on Rae five minutes into the second half, despite home midfielder Andrew Shepherd somehow escaping similar punishment moments earlier for a lunge from behind on Jermaine Metz.
But the incident showed they were more fired up for the second period, and they showed they meant business when they brought on forward Colin Larkin for midfielder Matty Slocombe in the 56th minute.
It took just six minutes for the veteran to make his mark. Northallerton were looking for an offside against the lively Pearson, but he took down a pass superbly and fired off a shot, which was partially blocked by a defender.
The ball still looked to have enough momentum to carry it over the line, but Colin Larkin made sure from a few inches out to make it 1-1. A goalscoring debut at the age of 39 – surely some sort of club record!
Midway through the half Consett showed they weren’t happy with a point by bringing on another attacker, Ryan King, for midfielder Callum Guy, who’d been kept quiet by Northallerton.
Marriott’s influence on the game was growing, and a great piece of skill on the edge of the box saw him lose his man, get to the byline and pull the ball back for Pearson, who saw two shots blocked by some determined defending.
As the rain which had threatened all night began to pour down, King thought he’d won the game for Consett in the second of four minutes of added time.
He bundled the ball over the line after the keeper dropped it under aerial challenge from skipper Arjun Purewal, but the referee blew for a foul.
But the visitors were not to be denied, and in the 93rd minute Ryan King took advantage of a miskick by the keeper to run through and slot home into an empty net.
The goal sparked joyous celebrations among the Consett players and the big contingent of travelling supporters behind the goal, and there was barely time to restart the game, as Consett saw it out to complete a 2-1 win.
The result means Consett are one of only three teams who have won their first two games in Division One of the Northern League, the others being Newton Aycliffe and Newcastle Benfield.
|Northern League Division One