Consett kept their promotion push on track when they leapfrogged visitors Billingham Town in the Northern League 1st Division table with a 2-1 win in a close game at a chilly Belle View.
Manager Terry Mitchell kept faith with the same starting XI who had won at Irlam in the FA Vase seven days earlier, and his selection was justified as his side took the game to their visitors, who were two places above them, in fourth, from the off.
Ali Alshabeeb was first to test Billingham keeper Bradley Young after just four minutes, but shot straight at him. A minute later Consett’s leading scorer Dale Pearson looked certain to score after collecting Luke Carr’s pass and rounding the keeper, but defender Mark Dixon got back to make a superb clearance off the line.
Billingham showed they were going to pose a goal threat of their own, and almost took the lead in the 8th minute when they broke quickly from a Consett corner, and Luke Hogan looked set to score, until Darren Holden got back to make a vital block.
The action switched straight to the other end, where Alshabeeb ran through on goal, but saw his shot well parried away by Young. When Calvin Smith headed wide from Holden’s cross, both sides had shown their attacking teeth, and there was only 10 minutes gone.
Billingham had another chance on 18 minutes when Elliott Beddow played a free-kick short to Hogan, but his shot was off target. Then Consett caught Billingham trying to play out from the back, but Pearson’s shot was blocked after he was cleverly set up by Jake Orrell. Then Matty Slocombe – still looking for his first goal of the season – saw his 20-yarder touched round the post by the keeper.
A goal looked imminent, and it arrived in the 25th minute after a lovely move by Consett. Carr’s pass sent Jake Orrell running into the heart of the visitors’ defence, and he kept his composure to dink the ball over the keeper for his sixth goal in 11 games since joining from Blyth Spartans.
Carr was at the centre of most of Consett’s attacks, and it was his sliderule pass which sent Holden clear in the left-hand channel on the half-hour, but the keeper stood up well to beat out his well-struck shot.
Billingham served notice that they were a threat on the break when Craig Hutchinson’s pass picked out Jamie Davis’s run to leave him one-on-one with Kyle Hayes, but the Consett keeper saved well with his legs, and then pounced on the loose ball. The keeper made an even better save after a long throw was flicked on, pulling off a fine reaction save to tip James Frazer’s header over the bar.
Half-time: Consett 1 Billingham Town 0
The chances near the end of the first half seemed to fire up Billingham for the second 45, and Hayes had to be on the alert just four minutes in to keep out Hutchinson’s near-post effort. A minute later he again did well to deny Daniel Flounders, who had been played in by Davis. And Hayes was called into action again on 65 minutes, when he tipped over Davis’s header from Beddow’s cross.
A goal for the visitors looked on its way as they enjoyed their best spell of the match, and sure enough they equalised in the 66th minute. Consett failed to deal with Hutchinson’s ball across the face of goal, and it was finished from close range by Luke Hogan.
Consett had started the second half slowly, but the goal made them up their game, and Dale Pearson smashed in what turned out to be the winner in the 69th minute when Holden’s long throw was half-cleared to him just inside the box. It was the big striker’s 18th goal in 18 starts since he joined the club.
Pearson had the chance to seal the points in the 82nd minute when sub Andrei-Vasile Ardelean dummied Carr’s pass, allowing the No 9 to run through on goal, but he took the ball too close to Young and the keeper snatched it off his toe.
Billingham piled on the pressure in the closing minutes as they looked for another equaliser, and had a half-hearted penalty appeal for handball turned down, but the Steelmen hung on to take all three points, and rise three places, to third in the table.
MATCH REPORT & PICTURES: GARY WELFORD
CONSETT: 1 Kyle Hayes, 2 Jermaine Metz, 3 Darren Holden, 4 Matty Slocombe (sub Wouter Verstraaaten 75), 5 Arjun Purewal (captain), 6 Nick Allen, 7 Jake Orrell, 8 Calvin Smith, 9 Dale Pearson, 10 Luke Carr, 11 Ali Alshabeeb (sub Andrei-Vasile Ardelean 81). Subs not used: Ross Wilkinson, Simon Jakab, Thomas McAloon.
BILLINGHAM TOWN: 1 Bradley Young, 2 Lee Moore (captain), 3 Mark Dixon, 4 Jack Connor, 5 James Frazer, 6 Kris Summers (sub Liam Pritchard 46), 7 Elliott Beddow, 8 Daniel Flounders, 9 Craig Hutchinson, 10 Jamie Davis (sub Matthew Robinson 83), 11 Luke Hogan (sub Ashley Lavan 83). Subs not used: Jamie Poole, Kurtis Howes.
|09/11/2019||3:00 pm||Northern League Division One||2019-20|