Consett’s 100% start to the season came to a juddering halt with this home defeat to Newton Aycliffe, which saw four goals and a sending off in the final 10 minutes.
Quite how the Steelmen contrived to lose a game they had much the better of in terms of possession and chances is something of a mystery.
But the resolute visitors were hard to break down, and showed that their pre-match status of jointly leading the Northern League with their hosts was no fluke.
Consett made just one change from the side that thumped West Allotment 5-0 in midweek, Calvin Smith returning in midfield, with Dan Marriott stepping down to the bench.
There was no indication of the fireworks to come in a tepid opening half hour in which both keepers were virtual spectators. The standard was high enough, but chances there were none.
It took until the 29th minute before there was a meaningful attempt at goal, when Darren Holden played the ball to Dale Pearson on the edge of area, and the No. 9’s spin-and-shot was palmed round the post by the keeper.
Five minutes later Pearson went close again when Jake Orrell evaded an industrial challenge before playing in the big striker, who dragged his shot just wide.
Luke Carr had two half-chances — a 25-yard off-target volley and a side-footed effort from inside the box that was easily saved — before Newton Aycliffe took a 42nd-minute lead totally against the run of play.
A cross from the left sailed agonisingly too high for James Metcalfe to head clear, and he succeeded only in flicking the ball on to Liam Jarvie in acres of space, who chested down and fired into the corner. It was the only serious attempt at goal Aycliffe had mustered.
Half-time: Consett 0 Newton Aycliffe 1
The Steelmen stepped up the pressure in the second half, and on 52 minutes Holden laid the ball infield to Carr, who saw his looping effort from the edge of area tipped over the bar by the back-pedalling Adam Pickford.
Back came the visitors, and three minutes later goalscorer Jarvie created space for a shot just outside the area, with his curling effort passing just wide of the target.
Consett made a double substitution on the hour, with Stephen Callen and Dan Marriott replacing Carl Lawson and Callum Guy, neither of whom had posed any threat, and it was the latter replacement who looked like swinging the game Consett’s way.
On 70 minutes, lovely interplay between Marriott and Pearson put Carr clean through with just the keeper to beat, but he slid the ball agonisingly wide of the upright.
Then, three minutes later, Marriott played a one-two with Pearson, but sadly for the home side his low, drilled shot went straight down Pickford’s throat.
Former Steelman Shaun Ryder, who had replaced injury victim Alex Walker early in the second half, came close to extending Aycliffe’s lead in the 78th minute, when Jake Petitjean teed him up as he came steaming down the right flank. To Consett’s relief, his powerful shot went across goal and wide.
Veteran striker Colin Larkin, pictured below, replaced Metcalfe with 10 minutes remaining, and almost had an immediate impact, as he saw a shot deflected over.
He was not to be denied however, and, with five minutes remaining, Consett’s pressure finally brought a well-deserved equaliser.
Pearson cut inside from the right flank and set up Marriott, whose firm shot could only be fumbled by Pickford, and Colin Larkin raced in to net the rebound.
The equaliser was the least Consett deserved, and two minutes later Marriott produced some good work down the left, and after his pull-back evaded everyone, Larkin fired in a shot that was scrambled wide by keeper.
With the 90 minutes up and the score at 1-1 it looked like the two unbeaten records would remain intact with the spoils shared … oh how wrong we were!
A cross from Aycliffe’s right sailed through the box and was heading towards the opposite touchline. Jermaine Metz embarked on a chase with Petitjean for the ball, their legs tangled, and as the visiting No. 11 went down, the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Sonni Coleman stepped up take it and although Hayes saved diving to his right, Coleman scored the rebound.
Straight from the restart play went up to the other end, and as Ryder cleared the ball Holden caught him late, and was shown a straight red card, pictured below.
Consett’s five minutes of madness concluded when Coleman added a third for the visitors after dispossessing Hayes when he inexplicably tried to dribble his way past two attackers.
Although it had seemed like an irrelevance at the time, the keeper’s mistake ultimately cost Consett a point, as incredibly the 10 men pulled the score back to 2-3 in the seventh minute of added time. Dale Pearson netting from the penalty spot after he had been tripped in the area.
So, a bizarre finish to a game that seemed to have 0-0 written all over it at one point. Consett created enough chances in the end to have won at a canter, but catastrophic mistakes ultimately proved to be their undoing.
JOHN PAUL HARDY
- The result means Newton Aycliffe go top, and wins for North Shields and Thornaby mean Consett will head to Whickham on Tuesday night in 4th place.
- The crowd at Belle View was a season’s best 554. The next home game is next Saturday, 21 August, when we face Bridlington Town in the FA Cup.
|14/08/2021||3:00 pm||Northern League Division One||2021-22|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|