Tag: billingham synthonia

league cup

Northern League decides to delay the start of League Cup competition

The Northern League has decided to delay the start of this season’s League Cup, in view of the rising Covid rate.

The league management committee (LMC) has decided to postpone the start of both its knockout competitions – the League Cup and Ernest Armstrong Cup – so league fixtures can be prioritised.

First round ties in both competitions were due to be played this month, including several League Cup ties next week. Our 1st Round game at Billingham Synthonia was scheduled for Wednesday 26 January.

However, due to the Covid situation in the region following the festive break, the LMC has decided that the 1st Round ties will not be played until February at the earliest.

This will allow the situation to be reviewed in the next couple of weeks and a decision made as to whether the cup competitions should proceed or be cancelled.

A Northern League statement said: “We appreciate the difficulties that clubs are facing at the moment, including having to postpone fixtures because of Covid infections, and thank them for all the work they are doing so that matches are played.  

“We also appreciate that this decision leads to uncertainty for clubs and spectators, and we will make a decision on the cups as soon as possible.  Fulfilling the league fixture list remains the priority.”

On this day in our history: 20 April 2013 – Consett continue their end-of-season roll with an eighth win in 11 games

Consett’s excellent recent form continued on this day in 2013 as they ran out comfortable 4-1 winners against Billingham Synthonia at a sunny Belle Vue Park, with their eighth win in 11 games never in doubt from the moment Luke Sullivan drilled home the opener midway through the first half.

Manager Kenny Lindoe made just one change to the side which had beaten Sunderland RCA three days earlier, Matty Slocombe returning in place of Anthony Lund. A youthful-looking Synners side included one popular ex-Steelman, Steven Huggins, in an unfamiliar right-back position, though there was no sign of their other one, Andrew Burton.

After a tentative start on a lively pitch, Consett gradually got into their stride, and Slocombe had the first attempt on goal on eight minutes, picking the ball up outside the box but firing his shot a couple of yards wide.

Aris Guerin-Lokonga then had a shot blocked, and Jack Stanger’s follow-up whistled wide. When Stanger was inches away from getting on the end of a free-kick whipped in by Ian Davidson from the right, a goal looked on the cards.

Consett midfielder Jack Stanger. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

In-form striker Luke Sullivan then had the best chance yet when he timed his run onto a right-wing Calvin Smith cross perfectly, but put a weak header straight at the keeper Tim Griffiths.

The breakthrough wasn’t long, however, and it came on 21 minutes, thanks to some good link-up play between Consett’s two forwards. Guerin-Lokonga won possession midway in the Synners half, held off a challenge, and fed the ball to Sullivan on his right. A toucvh took him past his marker, and he finished confidently for his fourth goal in three games.

Luke Sullivan fires home to open the scoring. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

A few minutes later Consett suffered a blow when they lost Stanger with an ankle injury, but Andrew Cuthbertson came on in a straight swap, and their momentum wasn’t affected. Sullivan was clearly in the mood for more goals, and he came close after a pass into the right-hand channel saw him flash a shot across the face of goal. Then it was Cuthbertson’s turn to come close, timing his dash to the back post a fraction too late after Michael Pearson fired just wide from Guerin-Lokonga’s pull-back.

The second goal came four minutes into added time at the end of the first half, when another pinpoint Davidson free-kick from the right picked out Guerin-Lokonga at the back post, and he headed back across the keeper into the far corner.

Aris Guerin-Lokonga gets up ahead of Matty Slocombe. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett were well worth their 2-0 half-time lead, but four minutes into the second period they gifted their visitors a way back into the game, when they gave away a penalty. Aidan Cattermole got in behind the Steelmen’s defence, and was adjudged to have been tripped as he shaped to pull the ball back from the byline. Danny Newby made no mistake from the spot to give the visitors a lifeline they scarcely deserved.

Just after the hour mark the game was as good as over, however, when Sullivan got his fifth goal in three games with a piledriver of a free-kick from 25 yards, which Griffiths could help into the top corner.

Luke Sullivan makes it 3-1 with a superb free-kick. Pic: John Paul Hardy.

Seven minutes later Slocombe made it 4-1 to Consett, rising highest at the back post to power home Pearson’s excellent cross from the right, and it was game over. Both sides rung the change in the last quarter of the game, with Consett bringing on Liam O’ Mahoney for the ever-present Smith, who was playing his 50th game of the season, and Steven Aiston for Guerin-Lokonga, whose goal was his sixth in eight games.

Ever-present Calvin Smith was playing his 50th game of the season. Pic: Gary Welford.

Consett enjoyed the lion’s share of possession without creating too many clear-cut chances, but it the home fans went home happy after seeing their team register their fifth win in 10 days, and climb to a seasonal high of eighth in the table.

A backlog of games would catch up with them, however – they still had seven to play, with six of them at home – and they finished 9th, with Synners three places behind them.

Darlington 1883 ended up as the runaway league champions with 122 points, while Spennymoor Town were runners-up with 109 – more than they amassed in their four championship-winning seasons!

On this day in our history: 31 March 1981, Consett win through to their first League Cup final

Consett have been famed cup fighters over the years, but one competition where they didn’t enjoy much success for many years after joining the Northern League was the League Cup.

All that changed on this date in 1981, when, despite it being an otherwise nondescript season, they reached the League Cup final for the first time, with a 2-1 semi-final win over Billingham Synthonia at our old Belle Vue Park ground.

Synners were proving to be one of the teams of the season as far as cups were concerned. After enjoying a good run in the FA Trophy, they also reached the semi-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup.

They had beaten South Bank on penalties and Ashington to reach the League Cup semi-final, while Consett had knocked out Durham City and North Shields. The match was originally scheduled to be on March 4, but was postponed until 31st.

The match programme warned: “The winning of tonight’s match is vital if Consett are to retain any major interest in proceedings up to the end of the current season.

“Our current lowly league position [they were 13th] can certainly be improved upon, but how nice it would be for all connected with our club if we could go on and win our first trophy since our entrance to the Northern League 11 years back.

“Perhaps the biggest disappointment to our supporters this season has been our inability to score goals, a trait seldom missing from Consett performances over the past seasons.

“Although missing 8 games this season, Terry Breen has been the only player to equal the scoring records of past players such as Kevin Cross, Steven Newstead, Dave Rutherford and Bobby Parkinson.

“Another factor contributing towards this season’s poor results has been the excessive injury problems thrust upon us for the second season running. At no period throughout the past two seasons have we been able to give any selected side a prolonged run of matches.”

Just as important as the result was the fact that the tie guaranteed £200 prize money for the winners, and the chance to pick up another £600 if they managed to lift the trophy, or £400 for being runners-up.

Despite their goalscoring problems, Consett went through to the final of the league cup – known for this season only as the Turney Wylde Cup for sponsorship reasons.

Their former West Brom striker Barry Donaghy opened the scoring in the first half, but Steve Griffiths equalised for Billingham eight minutes into the second half.

It was fitting that it was long-serving skipper John Swinburn – in his ninth season with the club – who grabbed the winning goal six minutes from time.

Club records show that the match was played before a crowd of 165, and Consett lined up as follows: 1 Dave Pollard, 2 Brian Anderson, 3 John Swinburn, 4 David McGinn, 5 Jack Sheekey, 6 Peter Bragan, 7 John Morrisroe (sub Terry Breen), 8 Malcolm Wood, 9 Barrie Fowler, 10 Barry Poole, 11 Barry Donaghy.

Consett – whose club colours at the time were all tangerine with black trim – went on to face Spennymoor United in the final at Blyth Spartans’ Croft Park ground, but lost 2-0.

A first success in the competition would have to wait another few years – until 1995 to be exact, which remains the only time the club has ever won the competition.