Consett extended their unbeaten run to 14 games as they eased into the quarter-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup with a 5-0 win over Esh Winning at a frosty Belle View.
The starting XI saw manager Terry Mitchell give four members of his squad much-needed playing time, plus a debut to young goalkeeper Josh Wilson, with regular No. 1 Kyle Hayes not risked after picking up a knock at the weekend.
He was repaid with a professional performance which saw his side sweep into an early two-goal lead against their 2nd Division opponents, and never relinquish control of the game.
Consett were on the front foot from the start, and one of the newcomers, Max Russell, almost made an immediate impact, beating several players in a surging run from midfield into the heart of the penalty area, before being crowded out.
Dale Pearson, looking to add to his 26-goal haul for the season, had the first attempt of the game on seven minutes, but fired just wide of the left-hand post from 15 yards.
A goal wasn’t long in coming, however. Striker Andrei-Vasile Ardelean, given his first start in nine games, repaid the manager’s faith by opening the scoring on 10 minutes, firing home from eight yards after the visitors’ defence failed to deal with Luke Carr’s corner.
Two minutes later the Steelmen were firmly in control as Luke Carr fired a 22-yard free-kick into the top corner to make it 2-0.
Carr almost repeated the trick four minutes later from another free-kick, but this time Esh keeper Craig Hannant saved down low at his near post. The keeper then distinguished himself with a good save from Thomas McAloon, who was played in by a superb crossfield ball by Darren Holden.
Six minutes before half-time Carr struck again, taking his goals tally for the season to 11. He drifted in from the right and went past two defenders before unleashing a left-footed shot which gave the keeper no chance.
It was almost four when Carr played in Pearson, but Hannant read where he placed his shot, and pulled off a save which meant the teams went into the break with the score 3-0.
Half-time: Consett 3 Esh Winning 0
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, with Consett dictating the play and Esh mounting a resolute rearguard action, without ever threatening their hosts’ goal.
Pearson was a whisker away from scoring in the 52nd minute when he couldn’t quite get enough on his first-time effort after a tremendous one-touch passing move, then Hannant made a fine save to deny McAloon again after Metz’s cross picked him out.
On 62 minutes Consett’s incessant pressure paid off when they scored a fourth goal. A driving run took Wouter Verstraaten into the penalty area, and when he found his path to goal blocked he laid the ball off to Dale Pearson, who despatched it into the bottom corner for his 27th goal of the season.
And on 64 minutes the scoring was complete when Andrei-Vasile Ardelean got his second goal of the night, and his eighth of the campaign, after Verstraaten’s pass opened up the Esh defence.
Calvin Smith came on for Carr as Consett took the opportunity to rest players ahead of Friday night’s trip to Whickham, and the disappointment on the midfielder’s face was clear when he fired straight at the keeper after meeting Holden’s low free-kick. A goal would have been his 50th for the club.
When Esh’s No 11 limped off with 15 minutes to go the visitors were forced to play out the rest of the game with only 10 men, as they had used their only sub, but to their credit they sat deep, soaked up the pressure and made it difficult for Consett to pass their way through them.
There were chances; Hannant stood up well to save from Metz, Simon Jakab headed over from a left-wing corner and Pearson produced the miss of the season from a foot out when he somehow failed to convert Metz’s cross, but the job was done, and Consett were through to the last eight.
MATCH REPORT & PICTURES: GARY WELFORD
CONSETT: 1 Josh Wilson, 2 Jermaine Metz, 3 Darren Holden (sub Nick Allen 73), 4 Wouter Verstraaten, 5 Simon Jakab, 6 Ross Wilkinson, 7 Thomas McAloon, 8 Max Russell (sub Matty Slocombe 46), 9 Dale Pearson, 10 Luke Carr (captain) (sub Calvin Smith 60), 11 Andrei-Vasile Ardelean. Subs not used: Arjun Purewal, Ali Alshabeeb.
ESH WINNING: 1 Craig Hannant, 2 Sam Steele, 3 Ethan Chatt, 4 Max Stoker (captain), 5 Joe Gill (sub Ross Thomas 71), 6 Jonathan Swift, 7 Jayven Richardson, 8 Glenn Donaldson, 9 Nicholas Marley, 10 Jay Mclean, 11 Kieron Kelly.
|Durham Challenge Cup