Consett drew their latest friendly 2-2 against Morpeth Town at Belle View Stadium tonight – but the higher-ranked visitors were a little fortunate to claim a draw.
The Steelmen were fired up from the start, and played some excellent football against the Highwaymen, who finished 10th in the Northern Premier League’s Premier Division last season.
The opening goal came in the 11th minute, when Declan Bisset fed the ball out to Adam Mitchell on the left.
The No 10 cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot, which Morpeth keeper Dan Lowson did well to save. But Consett’s Cyril Giraud was first to the loose ball to fire home from close range, pictured below.
Two minutes later the lead was almost doubled when a ball from the right found Colin Larkin, whose thunderous volley brought a great save out of Lowson.
But on 21 minutes a mistake at the back handed Morpeth an equaliser when the home side gave away possession cheaply, and Ryan Donaldson ran through to slot past the exposed Ross Coombe to make it 1-1.
Giraud went close with a header and skipper-for-the-night Jake Orrell had a shot blocked as Consett sought to regain their lead.
As half-time approached it was Consett who looked more likely to score, with Lowson making another good save from Mitchell, after great work down the left by Kieren Aplin.
Morpeth hadn’t shown much as an attacking force in the first half, but Coombe had to be alert in the 52nd minute to make a good save low down from Jack Foalle.
Aplin rolled an effort wide of the far post and Orrell fired a snapshot just wide as Consett continued to enjoy the upper hand, and they got the goal they deserved in the 67th minute.
Karl Byrne beat his man down the flank and crossed for Colin Larkin, who beat Lowson to the ball and was promptly wiped out by the keeper. The No 9 picked himself up to tuck away the resulting penalty to make it 2-1.
Larkin went close as Consett looked to increase their lead, and Orrell saw another shot saved by Lowson after more good work by Byrne.
At the other end Morpeth’s Dale Pearson, returning to his old stomping ground, had a close-range shot blocked and sub Bailey Geliher forced a low save from Coombe.
But in the 86th minute the Highwaymen stole a goal after a defensive error from Byrne, who inexplicably played the ball right across his own box, gifting Jack Foalle an easy finish.
It was an equaliser Morpeth scarcely deserved, as their keeper had made a string of fine saves, compared to a couple of fairly routine stops by his home counterpart.
Neither side was able to find a winner in the closing minutes, but no one in the 178 crowd was complaining after a highly entertaining pre-season encounter.
CONSETT: 1 Ross Coombe, 2 Karl Byrne, 3 Kieren Aplin, 4 Lewis Green (sub James Metcalfe 87), 5 Calvin Smith, 6 Dan Capewell (sub Mark McLeod 77), 7 Cyril Giraud (sub Darren Holden 64), 8 Jake Orrell (captain), 9 Colin Larkin (sub Danny Craggs 82), 10 Declan Bisset (sub Matty Slocombe 57), 11 Adam Mitchell (sub Dan Marriott 72). Sub not used: Mark Foden (GK).
MORPETH TOWN: 1 Dan Lowson, 2 Josh Robson, 3 Ben Ramsey, 4 Ben Sayer, 5 Jeff Henderson (captain), 6 Chris Reid, 7 Jack Foalle, 8 Liam Noble (sub Bailey Geliher 61), 9 Dale Pearson, 10 Ryan Donaldson, 11 Connor Thomson (sub Henry Harvey 83).