Michael Mackay’s first-half hat-trick – his second treble of the season – set Consett on the way to a comfortable passage into the 3rd Round of the League Cup on this day in 2011.
But they took their foot off the pedal after cruising into a 4-0 interval lead at Belle Vue Park, and their 2nd Division opponents headed home with some pride restored after refusing to roll over, and making a game of it in the second half.
Manager Kenny Lindoe made one change to the starting XI which had beaten Ramsbottom United 4-2 in the FA Vase four days earlier, with David Brown coming in at left-back in place of injured skipper Carl Piecha, with Anthony Lund again filling in at centre-half.
Northallerton gave early notice that they weren’t going to be a pushover, and their skipper, midfielder Martin Butterworth, had the game’s first chance, hitting a shot from the edge of the box which was a comfortable enough save for Barry Poskett in the Consett goal.
The home side took 10 minutes to create anything worthwhile, and when they did it took a good save from Town keeper Stephen Craggs to prevent them taking the lead.
Harrison Davies, playing wide on the right, played a one-two with Marc Walton and curled a fine shot towards the bottom-left corner, which looked like it might beat Craggs, but the keeper was equal to it, pushing it to safety.
Sadly for Northallerton, their No 1 was at fault a minute later for the opening goal of the game, making a hash of Michael Mackay‘s 25-yarder and having to pick it out of his net as a result.
A long punt forward by Poskett then saw Walton execute a perfect chest pass to Davies, who was marauding down the right. He got almost to the byline before putting in a dangerous cross-shot which was kicked off the line by a defender before anyone in a red shirt could apply the finishing touch.
Consett didn’t have to wait long for goal No 2, which came from a trademark finish by Mackay, pictured top, on 18 minutes. He was sent clear by an excellent pass into the left-hand channel, drew the keeper and slotted home in the style of old to put Consett firmly in control.
Davies was at the heart of most of Consett’s attacking play, and he teed up Jamie Poole with a teasing cross which was headed just wide of the right-hand post, but on 31 minutes Mackay completed his second hat-trick of the season, taking his tally to 25 in all competitions, and again it was down to a goalkeeping error.
A backpass saw Craggs miss his attempted clearance, and Mackay slotted into an empty net. As half-time approached it looked like a case of how many Consett would score, and when Craggs fumbled a Davies corner from the right, Dale Burrell was angry with himself for not getting over his shot from outside the box.
A fourth goal wasn’t long coming, however, and it was Davies who got it a minute before the break, with an excellent first strike for the club. Lund started the move with a ball out from the back, and Davies played a one-two with Walton before beating the keeper with a first-time lob from 25 yards after spotting him out of position.
Half-time: Consett 4 Northallerton Town 0
Consett’s 4-0 lead, coupled with an increasingly strong wind and Northallerton’s determination not to suffer a pasting made it a frustrating second 45 minutes. Ryan Bell’s surges forward from right-back showed he was fully recovered from his recent hamstring problems, and one such foray should have seen him add to his single goal in Consett colours.
Chris Hutchinson – on as a half-time sub for Brown, with Poole reverting to left-back and Davies switching flanks – picked Bell out as he continued one run, but he put his shot over the bar.
To their credit, Northallerton hadn’t given up the game as a lost cause, and it was the introduction of their top scorer Peter Bulmer which led to their best spell of the match.
He pulled a goal back on 66 minutes after Town were allowed the freedom of the penalty area, reacting quickest when a shot came back off the post.
Five minutes later there was another scare when Hutchinson gave the ball away in his own half and let in right-back Stephen Butterworth, whose low, effort was beaten out by Poskett for a corner.
Hutchinson almost made amends on 72 minutes, when, after some good interplay by Mackay and Walton, he skinned his defender and prodded a shot which was heading in, even after Craggs got a foot to it, until left-back Stuart Dunn hooked clear off the line.
Northallerton centre-forward Gary Mitchell shaved the outside of a post and Carl Chillingsworth fired across the face of goal after going for glory, with two colleagues waiting for a pass. But Town’s resistance was finally put to bed in the 86th minute when substitute Gavin Ross added a fifth goal for Consett.
Davies, who’d had a quiet second half, was the creator, dropping deep to pick up the ball, and sending the teenage striker clear with a glorious pass, which he buried with aplomb.
There was still time for Northallerton to give the scoreline a slightly more respectable look in the third minute of added time when Chillingsworth was given time and space to fire past Poskett from 10 yards, but the damage had been done in the first half, and it was Consett who secured an away tie against Norton & Stockton Ancients in the next round.
Consett: 1 Barry Poskett, 2 Ryan Bell (sub Michael Pearson 65), 3 David Brown (sub Chris Hutchinson 46), 4 Dale Burrell, 5 David Scorer, 6 Anthony Lund, 7 Harrison Davies, 8 Craig Robson (capt), 9 Marc Walton (sub Gavin Ross 71), 10 Michael Mackay, 11 Jamie Poole. Subs not used: Peter Jameson (GK), Damian Maw.
Northallerton Town: 1 Craggs, 2 S Butterworth, 3 Dunn, 4 Hickman, 5 Chapman, 6 M Butterworth (capt), 7 Anderson (Bulmer 59), 8 Parkin, 9 Mitchell, 10 Chillingsworth, 11 Clayton (Cook 73). Sub not used: Winter.