Consett went seven points clear at the top of the Northern League after their quality shone through in a 3-1 win at West Allotment Celtic.
The Steelmen’s hosts had won four and drawn one of their last five league games, which made them Division One’s form team.
But Terry Mitchell’s side extended their own unbeaten run to eight games with some clinical finishing on their first-ever visit to East Palmersville Sports Stadium.
The manager made four changes to the side which had edged past Thornaby on penalties in the FA Vase at the weekend. Ross Coombe, who’d come on for the second half at the weekend, continued in goal, with Kyle Hayes unable to play after suffering a concussion.
Darren Holden came in for Jermaine Metz at right-back, Carl Lawson replaced Calvin Smith in midfield, and Dan Marriott started up front in place of Colin Larkin.
In a nip and tuck first half-hour, the sides largely cancelled each other out. The first effort on goal took 23 minutes, as home midfielder Jake Forster took aim from distance, but shot high and wide.
A minute later, at the other end, Consett came close to an opener as a scramble in the box resulted in three efforts on goal being blocked and saved from close range.
The game came to life on 31 minutes when Consett took the lead. A short corner routine saw Jake Orrell drive to the byline and send in a low cross, and after skipper Arjun Purewal’s initial flick was blocked, top scorer Dale Pearson tapped the ball home from a couple of yards out against one of his old clubs. The goal, pictured top, was his 16th of the season.
Rui Martins had a chance to level on 34 minutes when he took a shot from just outside the box, but it was deflected wide for a corner which came to nothing.
Purewal almost doubled Consett’s advantage on the stroke of half-time, but saw his header from Orrell’s corner come back off the post with the keeper beaten.
But it was 2-0 in the first minute of added time when Orrell floated in a superb cross from the left and Luke Carr scored his ninth goal of the season with a thumping header.
Half-time: West Allotment Celtic 0 Consett 2
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with not a great deal of clear-cut chances, though Marriott, playing further forward than usual, had a couple of early opportunities to get his name on the scoresheet.
First, in the 49th minute, he fired into the side netting after good work by Holden and Lawson, and two minutes later he chipped the keeper after latching onto an excellent Holden pass, but his effort was just wide.
On 69 minutes Marriott had a third chance, after Carr’s delightful dinked pass over the top, but this time he was denied by keeper Finlay Hodgson, who was off his line quickly to block.
There was nothing the Celtic stopper could do about Consett’s third goal a minute later, however. Carr found Jake Orrell with a great through ball, and the midfielder shimmied his way into the box before finishing into the bottom corner.
West Allotment, who were much improved from the side beaten 5-0 at Belle View back in August, did give their fans something to shout about as they made it 3-1 in the 79th minute. Matty Hayton flicked the ball into the path of fellow sub Owen Carr, who fired first-time into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
They went close to adding a second through Callum Larmouth, who fired over from distance, but it was Consett sub Colin Larkin who came closest to adding to the scoreline, firing into the side netting after being played in by Pearson’s reverse pass.
|Northern League Division One