Consett ended an awful run of 18 Albany Northern League games without a win on this day 19 years ago when they recorded an emphatic 5-2 midweek victory over Billingham Town to move them off the bottom of the table.
Included in the Consett line-up was former favourite Tony Halliday, who had returned to Belle Vue Park after a spell at Esh Winning, while inspirational skipper Jeff Sugden was also back in the side after missing several matches through injury.
The Steelmen produced their best form of the season in the first half as they blitzed the visitors with four goals.
They took the lead after seven minutes when Andrew Thompson’s shot was parried by Simpson, and Chris Hodgson was on hand to tap the ball into the empty net.
Consett doubled their lead four minutes later. Following a cross from the left by Johnny Brown, Colin McLeod’s header was only pushed out by Simpson and McLeod reacted first to force the ball home.
The Steelmen’s third goal came after 35 minutes when Thompson steered the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
With the visiting defence ragged Consett continued to push forward and they added the fourth on the stroke of half-time. Thompson played a fine through ball into the path of Rod Butler, who capped the move with a fine finish.
Half-time: Consett 4 Billingham Town 0
Consett continued in the same vein at the start of the second half, netting the fifth only three minutes after the interval. This time Thompson beat the offside trap and after his initial effort was saved he made sure at the second time of asking.
It took the young midfielder’s tally to six goals in his last two matches, after he scored all four in a 4-3 FA Vase win at Peterlee Newtown in the previous game.
Just 18, he had signed from Wearside League neighbours earlier in the season, and would go on to be top scorer.
Billingham began a mini-revival after 54 minutes when Rowntree scored. Town’s prolific striker pulled another one back after 63 minutes from the penalty spot after Butler had fouled Gallagher.
But Consett saw the rest of the game through without conceding again to record a welcome win and pick up three vital points to lift themselves to third-bottom.
This game would mark the beginning of a nine-game unbeaten run in the league, but Colin Carr’s side’s relegation fears were not allayed until the very last game of the season, when they beat Durham City to ensure 1st Division survival.
Consett: 1 James Platten, 2 Gareth McKenna, 3 Ian Davison, 4 David Gray, 5 Jeff Sugden (sub Roy Gordon), 6 Johnny Brown, 7 Rod Butler, 8 Andrew Thompson, 9 Colin McLeod, 10 Chris Hodgson (sub Eddie Sharp), 11 Tony Halliday.