Luke Carr’s first hat-trick for the club was the highlight of the game as Consett recorded another excellent FA Vase victory on the road, winning 5-2 at Irlam. The North West Counties League side, who had lost only twice in all competitions this season, were blown away by their visitors’ clinical finishing in the first half, which saw them go into the break 4-0 ahead.
Ali Alshabeeb set the Steelmen – who were backed by a noisy contingent of 60-70 supporters – on the way with a goal in the 2nd minute. Jermaine Metz made good ground down the right flank before pulling the ball back for the No 11 to fire home, to the delight of the visiting fans congregated behind the goal.
Irlam’s first sight of goal came in the 14th minute, when Jordan Southworth had a long-range effort, but it was an easy take for Consett keeper Kyle Hayes. Seven minutes later they had another half-chance through Marcus Perry, but his snapshot was again a comfortable save for Hayes.
Striker Jordan Icely turned and fired wide, and Southworth shot over the bar at the end of a decent move as Irlam as the home side enjoyed their best spell of the game, but two goals in three minutes either side of the half-hour mark put Consett firmly in the driving seat.
First, on 29 minutes, Irlam keeper Lee White flapped at a cross from the left, and the ball fell kindly for Ali Alshabeeb, who kept his composure smash the ball home for his second goal of the game.
Two minutes later Alshabeeb turned provider for Luke Carr, sending him clean through with a fine pass, and the No. 10 calmly slotted past the keeper for 3-0.
The Irlam defence were finding Alshabeeb hard to handle, and five minutes before the break he almost had his hat-trick. Calvin Smith’s pass found the lively No 11, and his curled effort just cleared the crossbar.
Right on half-time Consett were awarded a penalty when the referee decided Dale Pearson had been tripped by left-back Sam Bolton as they contested a loose ball. It was a soft one, but Luke Carr didn’t care, and he claimed his second goal of the afternoon by cheekily chipping the keeper from the penalty spot.
Half-time: Irlam 0 Consett 4
At 4-0 up at half-time, Consett’s lead looked unassailable, but to Irlam’s credit they had a go in the second half. Five minutes in, centre-forward Connor Martin had a great chance to reduce the arrears after meeting a cross from the right, but fired over from a few yards out. A minute later the No 9 had another chance, this time from distance, which again cleared the bar.
Irlam got a goal back on 55 minutes when Consett failed to deal with Perry’s free-kick from the right, and centre-back Ryan Ledson finished from close range.
The goal acted as a wake-up call for Consett, and a good move involving Smith and Metz set up Dale Pearson, who had been well-marshalled by the home centre-backs. The in-form striker tried to place his shot, but White made a good save to keep the home side’s slim hopes of a comeback alive.
On 74 minutes Irlam had a good chance to reduce the arrears further, but Icely fired over the bar. A minute later Matty Slocombe went close to increasing Consett’s lead with a great strike from 25 yards which was heading for the top corner, but White pulled off a fine save,tipping the ball over the bar.
But was nothing the keeper could about the Steelmen’s fifth goal, which came in the 78th minute. A good flowing move ended with Pearson setting up Luke Carr, who placed the ball inside the far post to complete his hat-trick, and end any lingering thoughts of an Irlam comeback.
Five minutes before the end Consett should have made it six when Pearson’s pass played in substitute Andrei-Vasile Ardelean, but his shot was saved by the keeper.
The home side did score again, in the 87th minute, when George Farrelly volleyed in from fellow sub Mwiya Malumo’s cross, to make the final score 5-2. But it couldn’t spoil another great away day for the Conny Army, who can’t wait for Monday’s 3rd Round draw.
MATCH REPORT & PICTURES: GARY WELFORD
IRLAM: 1 Lee White, 2 Andrew Stewart, 3 Sam Bolton, 4 Charlie Doyle (captain), 5 Ryan Ledson, 6 Karl Cassell, 7 Marcus Perry, 8 Callum Nicholas, 9 Connor Martin (sub Mwiya Malumo 72), 10 Jordan Icely, 11 Jordan Southworth (sub George Farrelly 70). Subs not used: Eoin Charles, Daniel Eyres.
CONSETT: 1 Kyle Hayes, 2 Jermaine Metz, 3 Darren Holden, 4 Matty Slocombe, 5 Arjun Purewal (captain), 6 Nick Allen (sub Simon Jakab 69), 7 Jake Orrell, 8 Calvin Smith (sub Wouter Verstraaten 75), 9 Dale Pearson, 10 Luke Carr (sub Andrei-Vasile Ardelean 82), 11 Ali Alshabeeb. Subs not used: David Brown, Ross Wilkinson, Michael Brown, Thomas McAloon.