Consett lost in the Northern League for just the second time this season, as they were beaten 3-1 at West Auckland after playing for an hour with 10 men.
Manager Terry Mitchell made three changes from the side which had won at Ryhope CW 11 days earlier, with Nick Allen making his first start of the season at right-back in place of the injured Jermaine Metz.
With James Martin also injured there was a change at left-back too, with Olly Scott dropping back from midfield, and Matty Slocombe returning to the starting XI. Up front, Stephen Callen replaced Colin Larkin.
West had three former Consett players in their starting XI: goalkeeper Ross Coombe, striker David Dowson and winger Corey Nicholson, a recent signing from Crook Town.
Consett started brightly, and had the first chance of the game after four minutes, when Luke Carr fired into the side netting from a tight angle.
Unfortunately, the first half an hour descended into a bit of a battle, as West seemed intent on unsettling their visitors with a physical approach. One high, late challenge on Slocombe didn’t even earn the culprit a talking-to, let alone the card it merited, and Carr and Dale Pearson appeared to be singled out for similar rough-house treatment.
A fairly turgid first half exploded into life on 31 minutes when West defender Liam Potter committed a cynical foul on Pearson as he threatened to burst through on goal from midfield. Unfortunately, Pearson – who’d already been spoken to twice by the referee – kicked out as he crashed to the ground, giving the official no option but to show him a straight red card. Potter received just a yellow.
Three minutes later the home side took the lead, as Adam Mitchell hit an absolute screamer into the top corner from 25 yards.
Half-time: West Auckland Town 1 Consett 0
It remained 1-0 to West at half-time, and the game swung on another controversial incident two minutes into the second half.
Consett had a big penalty shout turned down after Potter climbed all over Carr in the box, West broke up the other end and doubled their lead through Corey Nicholson.
But Consett were not giving up, and on 58 minutes they had a decent chance, Carr shooting narrowly wide after good play by Jake Orrell.
The Steelmen made a double change on 63 minutes, with Ryan King and Colin Larkin replacing Calvin Smith and Stephen Callen, and the bold move paid immediate dividends.
On 66 minutes they had reduced the deficit to one goal when Jake Orrell latched onto Larkin’s pass and smashed a shot into the roof of the net.
The goal got Consett’s blood pumping, and despite being a man down they matched their opponents’ more physical approach. In one 30-second spell, young centre-back James Metcalfe – excellent alongside skipper Arjun Purewal – contested three sliding 50/50 tackles in about 30 seconds – and won the lot.
It was hard to tell which side had 10 men, and on 72 minutes King used his strength to make a great run and cross, which was just too high for anyone to connect.
On 75 minutes Consett had their best chance to level, when King fed Larkin, who brought a good save from Coombe, and then hit the rebound into the side netting.
In the 83rd minute Slocombe had a chance after more good work by the lively King, but fired wide. The 10 men continued pressing forward, but conceded again in the sixth minute of added time when David Dowson took advantage of a defensive lapse to make it 3-1.
It was a scoreline which was a little harsh on Consett, as they had matched their hosts all the way. Despite the defeat, they remained top of the league, but faced being without their top scorer for the next three games after the costly red card.
|18/09/2021||3:00 pm||Northern League Division One||2021-22|
|West Auckland Town||3||Win|