Consett left it late but grabbed a point in a thrilling 2-2 draw with surprise table-toppers Thornaby in an incident-packed 2nd v 1st clash at Belle View Stadium.
The Steelmen trailed 2-0 at half-time, but laid siege to their visitors’ goal in the second half, and a point was the least they deserved in an excellent advert for Northern League football.
Manager Terry Mitchell made two changes to the side which beat Bishop Auckland in midweek, with Olly Scott replacing James Martin at left-back, and James Metcalfe coming into central defence for Adam Male. Thornaby included former Consett player Jamie Poole among their subs.
Consett started on the front foot, and had a half-chance after three minutes, when a defensive error let in top scorer Dale Pearson, but he lifted his effort over the bar.
Thornaby, unbeaten in their opening seven league games, took the lead on five minutes when Joe Scaife-Wheatley won the ball and fed Craig Hutchinson, who beat Kyle Hayes, despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball, to make it 1-0.
Stephen Callen fired wide from 20 yards, Arjun Purewal headed wide and Calvin Smith hit a 30-yarder straight at the keeper as Consett responded well to going behind.
They almost had an equaliser on 18 minutes when Callum Guy’s pass found Pearson, but his shot hit the crossbar and bounced over.
Consett were beginning to dominate play; Orrell fired wide after winning the ball in midfield, and Pearson saw a low shot saved by the keeper, before his cheeky flick from Olly Scott’s cross went wide.
On 28 minutes Consett were handed a golden chance to equalise when Pearson was clipped by defender Nathan Guru as he ran onto Callen’s pass, and referee Helen Conley awarded a penalty. The big striker took the spot kick himself, but placed it inches wide of the right-hand post.
It was a costly miss, and within two minutes Thornaby almost doubled their lead. They broke quickly from a Consett corner, but Elliott Beddow, the league’s top scorer, put his shot wide.
The Steelmen didn’t heed the warning, however, and on 33 minutes they were 2-0 down. Right-back Lee Moore whipped a great ball in from the right, and centre-back James Frazer scored with a thumping header.
It could have been worse. Five minutes before the interval another quick break saw the dangerous Beddow through on goal again, and this time Hayes saved with his feet to keep the deficit to two.
Half-time: Consett 0 Thornaby 2
Consett had a scare a few minutes into the second half when the visitors claimed that young centre-back Metcalfe had impeded Hutchinson as last man, but the referee waved away their appeals.
That was the signal for the Steelmen to lay siege to the Thornaby goal. Carr – making his 100th appearance for the club – headed into the side netting from Orrell’s cross, and Orrell had a shot blocked after a one-two with Guy.
Consett felt they had a good shout for another penalty on 59 minutes when Scott went down under a challenge from Reece Kenney, but the referee waved the claims away.
On the hour Pearson was denied by the woodwork for the second time, as his shot came back off the post after good work by Jermaine Metz. Was it going to be one of those for Consett?
The answer, happily, was no, and on 66 minutes the were right back in the game thanks to an absolute screamer from Jake Orrell. He picked up possession 30 yards out and launched a thunderbolt into the top corner, hit so hard that the ball lodged in the stanchion.
Consett’s tails were up, and on 69 minutes sub Colin Larkin went close, his shot beating the keeper but not the trailing leg of a covering defender. Two minutes later Carr hit the post from 20 yards and Larkin’s follow-up struck the bar – the fourth time the woodwork had saved Thornaby.
Consett kept knocking at the door, and in the 86th minute their perseverance was rewarded. Orrell’s shot hit the post, but the ball rebounded to Dale Pearson, who fired his eighth goal in nine games.
Larkin and Calvin Smith had chances to grab a winner in five minutes of added time, but were just off target with their efforts, and a thrilling game ended with honours even at 2-2.
SLIDESHOW PICS: STEPHEN FINCH & GARY WELFORD
|28/08/2021||3:00 pm||Northern League Division One||2021-22|