Consett had a disastrous day at Belle View, losing 3-0 to fellow title hopefuls North Shields and having top scorer Dale Pearson sent off again on his return from suspension.
The only bit of good news on a day where they were resoundingly beaten in front of a season’s best crowd of 663 was that they’re still three points clear at the top of Division One.
That’s because second-placed Newton Aycliffe surprisingly suffered a 3-0 defeat of their own, at home to Sunderland RCA.
North Shields – many people’s pre-season favourites to win the league – took the lead on 33 minutes when Calvin Smith accidentally clipped Paul van Zandvliet, and the referee awarded a penalty.
The Robins’ 13-goal top scorer Dan Wilson took the resulting kick, and sent Consett keeper Kyle Hayes the wrong way to make it 1-0.
That’s the way it stayed at half-time, but Consett had a glorious chance to level just three minutes into the second half when a through ball found Luke Carr, who couldn’t get his right-footed effort on target.
Stephen Callen limped off in the 50th minute, to be replaced by Pearson, who’d been named on the bench as he returned from the three-match suspension resulting from his red card at West Auckland.
But two minutes later the visitors doubled their lead as Consett failed to clear their lines and Dan Wilson fired home his second goal of the game.
Things got even worse for the Steelmen in the 66th minute when a touchline tussle for the ball between Pearson and Callum Smith ended with the Shields player falling to the ground clutching his face.
Pearson protested his innocence, but the referee showed him a straight red card, and the big striker now faces spending at least another three games as a frustrated spectator.
The sending off left Consett facing an uphill battle, and the game was put beyond doubt in the 79th minute when Shields scored again.
This time Wilson was the creator, holding the ball up well and outmuscling the home defence to set up sub Ryan Carr with a simple finish to make it 3-0.
North Shields are now third, five points behind Consett but with a game in hand, while West Auckland are fourth, on the same points, after a 6-0 thumping of Whitley Bay.
- Consett’s next game is on Wednesday night, when they make their first visit in six years to Crook Town’s Sir Tom Cowie Millfield ground. Kick-off is 7.30pm.