Consett’s winning run against Northern League opponents came to an end today when they lost 2-0 at home to West Auckland Town in their latest pre-season friendly.
The visitors, who will be one of the favourites for promotion this season, scored a goal in each half in a full-blooded Belle View encounter in front of 204 spectators.
Skipper Matty Slocombe in particular seemed to relish the midfield battle, exchanging some crunching challenges.
The Steelmen named just four of the starting XI from the game v Whitley Bay two days earlier. One of them was Adam Mitchell, who was facing his old club, while the visitors’ line-up included Scott Heslop, who swapped Consett for West in the summer. Two other visiting players, Jake Stafford and Corey Nicholson, have also worn our colours.
Consett found themselves behind after just four minutes, when West left-back Andre Bennett played in Cieran Jackson, who fired across keeper Mark Foden into the far corner.
The early goal put West in control, and they had further chances through Heslop, who shot straight at Foden, and Jackson, who fired wide at the end of a slick move.
Consett gradually played their way into the game, and had their first effort midway through the half, when their trialist No 7 tried his luck from 25 yards, though it was a simple save low down for West keeper Jordan Harkess.
On the half-hour Consett had another chance when Cyril Giraud turned his marker inside out and saw his shot blocked, with Karl Byrne firing the rebound wide after cleverly teeing himself up.
Danny Craggs had a chance to level with one of his trademark free-kicks in the 34th minute, but his effort from 22 yards was just too high, while at the other end Heslop was denied by a great block from Mark McLeod.
A minute before half-time Leon Scott’s first-time shot from a right-wing cross hit the post, and West, who’d enjoyed the better of the play, went into the break 1-0 to the good.
Half-time: Consett 0 West Auckland 1
Eight minutes into the second half West doubled their lead in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Corey Nicholson’s ball in from the right found sub Charlie Hindson, and Foden saved his initial effort well, but the ball bounced back off the forward and fell kindly for him to make it 2-0 with a tap-in.
Consett had a good chance to reduce the arrears when Mitchell slipped the ball through to Giraud, whose shot was saved at point-blank range by the advancing Harkess.
On 64 minutes Consett went even closer when Byrne collected a crossfield ball, cut inside and curled a shot beyond Harkess, but saw it clip the base of the post and spin out, pictured top.
The next 20 minutes saw the game’s flow disrupted by the usual pre-season glut of substitutions, with managers keen to get some minutes into their players before the season begins in earnest.
The next chance of the game came on 84 minutes when the home side were again denied by the woodwork, when Mitchell’s free-kick hit the post, struck the diving Harkess on the back, and was inching towards goal when the keeper recovered in time to stop it crossing the line.
A minute later Dan Marriott, who looked lively after coming on as a sub, had the final chance when a long ball sent him running in on goal. He took his shot early from 20 yards, but it lacked power and was an easy take for the keeper.
It was a much better second-half showing from the Steelmen after a disappointing first 45 minutes, and they were the width of a post away from securing a draw against a very strong West team who kick off their season proper next week.
Although we’re in different leagues, the clubs could meet again soon, as the draw for the FA Cup Preliminary Round has brought us together if we both make it through our Extra Preliminary Round ties.
MATCH REPORT: GARY WELFORD
PICTURES: GARY WELFORD & KENNY TAYLOR
CONSETT: 1 Mark Foden (sub Ross Coombe 68), 2 Karl Byrne, 3 Darren Holden, 4 Mark McLeod (sub Calvin Smith 74), 5 Dan Capewell (sub James Metcalfe 74), 6 Kieren Aplin, 7 Trialist (sub Jake Orrell 54), 8 Matty Slocombe (captain), 9 Cyril Giraud (sub Dan Marriott 68), 10 Danny Craggs (sub Declan Bissett 58), 11 Adam Mitchell.
WEST AUCKLAND: 1 Jordan Harkess, 2 Reece Noble, 3 Andre Bennett, 4 Jake Stafford, 5 Gary Brown (captain), 6 Matthew Wade, 7 Corey Nicholson, 8 Arron Thompson, 9 Scott Heslop, 10 Leon Scott, 11 Cieran Jackson. Subs: Kyle Fryatt, Charlie Hindson, Ryan Wright, James Ellis, Andrew Coulson.
|23/07/2022||3:00 pm||2022-23 pre-season|