Consett’s slim title hopes were all but extinguished as they suffered a home defeat today to relegation-threatened Northallerton.Continue reading “Depleted Consett rue missed chances as Northallerton grab a late winner”
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Consett come from behind twice to beat West Auckland and line up semi-final trip to Ashington
An injury-time goal from veteran striker Colin Larkin gave Consett’s season a much-needed lift tonight as they twice came from behind to secure a cup semi-final place by beating West Auckland Town 3-2.
Andy Coyles’ side put in their best performance for weeks against the same visitors who they had ground out a 1-0 win over in the league seven days earlier.
The result means Consett travel to Ashington for a Division One Cup semi-final on Tuesday 12 April – four days before they complete their league fixtures with a game against the same opponents at Belle View Stadium.
Consett were the better side in the first half, and it was against the run of play that West Auckland took the lead on 38 minutes, as Ross Wilkinson headed the ball into his own net under challenge from Gary Brown as they contested a free-kick.
A minute later Consett were level, from another set play. Jake Orrell played the ball in from the right, Wilkinson did well to keep it alive in a melee of bodies, and Alex Francis fired home from close range against one of his old clubs, pictured below.
However, parity lasted just three minutes, as Francis went from goalscoring hero to villain, tripping Jordan Blinco to gift West a penalty, which Arron Thompson converted.
It remained 2-1 at half-time, but Consett, whose football was much more fluid than in recent weeks, were back on the front foot right from the start of the second half, creating chance after chance.
Dan Marriott fired just wide, David Dowson had a shot cleared off the line after the keeper dropped a corner, and Orrell’s 20-yard free-kick hit the post as the Steelmen poured forward.
The pressure was rewarded on 65 minutes when Luke Carr’s excellent pass picked out Calvin Smith‘s run to the back post, and he tucked the ball under the keeper to make it 2-2, pictured below.
There was a let-off for Consett in the 69th minute as West’s top scorer Blinco failed to convert from close range, but just as the game looked like it was heading for penalties there was one final twist.
In the first of three minutes of added time, Orrell’s corner from the right caused chaos in the West box, and Colin Larkin pounced on the loose ball, turned and fired home his 16th goal of the season to take Consett through.
It was just reward for a fine team performance, where every player showed their battling qualities against tough opponents, as well as playing their best passing game for quite some time.
- Full match report, stats and more pictures to follow.
Crook Town inflict Consett’s second home defeat in four days
League leaders Consett were beaten at home by mid-table opposition for the second time in four days tonight, losing 2-1 at Belle View to Crook Town.
The stuttering Steelmen again went behind, got themselves back in it, only to concede again, just as they had against Redcar Athletic at the weekend.
They remain nine points clear of second-placed Thornaby, who have played the same number of games, but third-placed North Shields, who have a point less than the Teessiders, now have five games in hand.
The first chance of the game fell to Scott Heslop in the 18th minute after he latched onto Colin Larkin’s pass, but he couldn’t get enough on his shot to trouble visiting keeper Ronan Makepeace.
Consett had their goalkeeper Kyle Hayes to thanks for a top drawer save in the 22nd minute, as he pushed a fiercely-struck 25-yarder from Joey Smith over the bar.
A minute later Larkin broke clean through on goal for Consett, but uncharacteristically fired high and wide.
Hayes was grateful to his woodwork in the 26th minute, as a free-kick from Crook skipper Lee Hume rattled the crossbar.
Heslop hit the side netting from 20 yards as the game began to open up, and a deep cross from the right found Dan Capewell, whose scuffed shot was deflected for a corner.
Crook took the lead in the 40th minute when a through ball sent Craig Moody running at the home defence, and he blasted the ball past Hayes from 12 yards to make it 1-0.
It stayed that way at half-time, but it only took seven minutes of the second half for Consett to level, as midfielder Alex Francis, pictured below, scored his first goal for the club with a deft header from Darren Holden’s corner.
The goal gave Consett a lift, and they began to dominate, but they seemed to lose their momentum after two big decisions went against them.
First, on 55 minutes, Heslop was flattened by Crook centre-back Oscar Eckley-Aldsworth just outside the box as he ran through on goal, but the card was yellow rather than red, and the resulting free-kick came to nothing.
Then in the 70th minute they had a huge shout for a penalty when a shot by Holden appeared to strike a defender’s arm, but the referee waved away their appeals.
But in the 76th minute the Steelmen had the wind knocked out of their sails when Crook scored again, with Mason Hurworth running through unchallenged before firing left-footed past Hayes to make it 2-1.
Consett ran out of ideas long before the end, and only time – and North Shields catching up with some of their games in hand – will tell how damaging this defeat might be.
- Full report, stats and more pictures HERE.
Consett suffer setback after losing part one of the Steelmen’s derby to Redcar
Leaders Consett suffered an unexpected setback in their quest for the Northern League title today as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Redcar Athletic.
With the pitch at Green Lane waterlogged, the first-ever meeting between the clubs – billed as the ‘Steelmen’s derby’ – was switched to Belle View at less than 24 hours’ notice.
But there were no home comforts for Consett, who went behind early on, equalised just before half-time, only to concede again late on.
Manager Andy Coyles made seven changes to the side which had won at North Shields in the cup in midweek, but it was Redcar who took the initiative by scoring in the ninth minute.
They were awarded a free-kick on the left, which was whipped in by Lee Farrington, and Kamal Ait El Haj was on hand to score from close range. It was his first goal for the club on his first start, after three sub appearances.
James Martin and Jake Orrell both curled chances wide and Dale Pearson and Alex Francis were off target with headers as Consett responded well.
Just when it seemed like the visitors would get to the break with their lead intact, Consett equalised two minutes into added time. Luke Carr’s pass sent Colin Larkin in on goal, and the Irishman made no mistake to plunder his 12th goal of the season, pictured below.
The second half saw Scott Heslop on for Pearson, and Carr forced Redcar keeper Matthew Bateman into a good save within a minute of the restart.
Larkin had a great chance on 55 minutes after Orrell found him at the back post, and although he controlled it superbly and beat his man, he dragged his shot wide.
Consett had plenty of possession, but created few clear-cut chances against a very well-organised Redcar side, who almost regained their lead in the 61st minute, but for a superb tackle by Dan Capewell on an opponent who looked clean through.
Both sides rang the changes, with the game losing some of its momentum as a result, but it was Redcar who dug out a winner in the 84th minute when Nicky Martin’s cross found top scorer Isaac Walker, who grabbed his 19th goal of the season.
Consett threw the kitchen sink at their visitors, but couldn’t find a way through, even with the help of six minutes of added time due to a couple of lengthy injury stoppages.
When the final whistle went the home side had suffered their first home league defeat in five months, but just how damaging it is to their title aspirations remains to be seen.
- Full match report, stats and more pictures HERE.
Consett keep their title challenge on track with a good three points at Guisborough
Consett put three more valuable points on the board for their Northern League title challenge today with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Guisborough Town.
The Steelmen made three changes to the side which beat Ryhope last week, with James Metcalfe, Ross Wilkinson and Dale Pearson coming into the starting line-up, and a few players in unfamiliar positions.
They got off to the perfect start when Colin Larkin gave them the lead after just two minutes, half-volleying in from inside the six-yard box, pictured top, from Darren Holden’s deep cross.
It was an 11th goal in Consett colours for the veteran striker, who, even at 39, looks like one of the signings of the season.
Guisborough had a good chance to equalise on nine minutes when Jack Blackford, on loan from Marske United, went past two Consett defenders, only to see his shot deflected over the bar.
In the 13th minute a superb Larkin pass sent Pearson through, and as he went to shoot he seemed to be pulled back by James Risbrough on the edge of the area, pictured, but the referee waved play on.
Recent signing Alex Francis tested the home keeper with a well-struck 30-yarder in the 27th minute, while at the other end Joe Bartliff blazed over at the far post when well placed to score.
Calvin Smith then went close with a headed effort from a Jake Orrell free-kick, but home keeper Robbie Deane made a comfortable save down low to his left.
It remained 1-0 at half-time, and Guisborough again dominated the ball after the break, without unduly troubling the resolute Consett defence.
The best chance of the half fell to Orrell on 76 minutes, but his well-struck effort from the edge of the box, pictured, brought the save of the game from Deane.
Five minutes later Consett got a slightly fortunate second goal to clinch the win and three more valuable points. Luke Carr whipped in a free-kick from the right, Dan Capewell got the slightest of touches, and the ball rebounded off the post and in off the helpless Deane.
Consett saw out the rest of the game superbly, and the win meant they stay eight points clear of second-placed Thornaby, who won 1-0 at Crook Town.
The match between third-placed Newton Aycliffe and fourth-placed North Shields was postponed, which leaves the Robins facing something of a fixture pile-up.
They still have 14 league games to play, as well as being in the FA Vase 6th Round and Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final – and that’s not taking into account the League Cup, which hasn’t started yet.
- Full match report, stats and more pictures to follow.
Consett see their title charge blown off course at Thornaby
League leaders Consett saw their Northern League title charge blown slightly off course today as they were beaten 3-2 at Thornaby.
It was third time lucky for the Teessiders, who drew 2-2 at Belle View back in August and were knocked out of the FA Vase on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate in November.
The home side, who started the day third in the table, went ahead after just five minutes at a blustery Teesdale Park, as Daniel Flounders finished low past Kyle Hayes.
Consett, kicking into a strong wind, had the ball in the net two minutes later through Scott Heslop, but the referee had already blown for a foul on the keeper, pictured below.
Thornaby almost doubled their lead on 23 minutes, but Nick Cassidy made an excellent clearance off the goal-line, and Consett managed to get to half-time with the score still 1-0.
With the wind behind them in the second half, the Steelmen fancied their chances of turning the game around, but instead fell further behind on 52 minutes as Craig Hutchinson doubled Thornaby’s lead.
The visitors almost reduced the arrears on 55 minutes when Heslop’s pass found Darren Holden, who brought a good save from keeper Josh Mazfari.
They received a lifeline on 62 minutes when the referee decided Heslop had been brought down by Nathan Guru, pictured above, and skipper Luke Carr converted the resulting penalty, pictured top, to make it 2-1. It was the little playmaker’s 10th goal of the season.
Thornaby were temporarily reduced to 10 men on 65 minutes when Hutchinson was sin-binned for dissent, and Consett brought on midfielder Alex Francis, pictured below, for his debut in a bid to capitalise.
Heslop brought a save from Mazfari with a smart turn and shot from the edge of the box, but it was Thornaby who got the next goal in the 83rd minute.
With Consett appealing for a foul on Jake Orrell in midfield, the home side broke quickly on them, and the ball was fed out to Cyril Giraud on the left, who fired past Hayes for 3-1.
Two minutes later Jake Orrell set up a grandstand finish as he smacked the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards, pictured below, for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Consett almost grabbed an equaliser in the fourth of five added minutes when Carr got on the end of a cross from the left, but Mazfari made a great save down low to his right.
The final whistle signalled a third defeat in four games for Consett, who took some consolation from the fact that North Shields, who started the day in second place, seven points adrift with two games in hand, had lost 1-0 at Seaham Red Star.
Three points for Thornaby saw them leapfrog North Shields into second spot, five points behind Consett, with the same number of games played. It seems the title is not quite the two-horse race that many people were predicting just yet.
- Full match report, stats and more pictures to follow.
Consett add experienced midfielder Alex Francis to their ranks
Consett have strengthened their squad for their promotion push by adding experienced midfielder Alex Francis to their ranks.
The 32-year-old has signed from Whickham, and will go straight into manager Andy Coyles’ squad.
Chairman Frank Bell said: “Alex is a quality player who we think will fit well into what we are trying to do at Consett, and we are grateful to Whickham for their help and assistance in facilitating this transfer.”
Francis, a tall central midfielder, was at Newcastle United Academy as a youngster, and signed for Gateshead after being released by the Magpies.
He has since played for Spennymoor Town, Dunston UTS, West Auckland, Durham City, Bishop Auckland and Whickham.