Consett’s quest for a point to guarantee Northern Premier League football next season will go to the last game after they lost 2-0 at Brighouse Town today.
With Arjun Purewal and Dan Capewell injured and Ben Milburn suspended, the Steelmen were without all three central defenders, and top scorer Zak Atkinson was also missing through injury.
They lined up with midfielder Matty Slocombe and striker Scott Fenwick at the heart of their back four, and Danny Barlow and Nathan Greenwood up front.
Brighouse had already missed early chances for Mohammed Ibrahim and Javelle Clarke before Consett’s injury list got even longer on 10 minutes when midfielder Scott Jasper limped off.
Barlow had a chance to put Consett ahead on 15 minutes when he latched onto Fenwick’s pass, but was denied by Brighouse keeper Jamie Hassall.
As has been the case all too often this season the missed chance proved costly, as a minute later the home side took the lead when Jack Boyle cut in from the right and hit a hard, low drive past Mark Foden.
Consett almost equalised midway through the first half when Barlow set up Josh Baggs, but Hassall again made a good save, and Barlow then headed wide from Fenwick’s deep cross.
Despite being 1-0 down at half-time, Consett were still in the game, but they didn’t really get going after the break and found themselves penned back for long spells, with Brighouse peppering their goal.
The pressure told in the 63rd minute when Joshua Grant fired an unstoppable shot past Foden from 25 yards to make it 2-0.
Consett laboured for a way back, but created little apart from a late half-chance for sub Oscar Taylor, while Brighouse were happy to see out the win, which guaranteed their own NPL status.
Victories for Lincoln and Grantham and an unlikely draw for Ossett at champions Worksop mean Consett drop a place to 14th, and still need a point in their last game to be sure of not being involved in the end of season play-offs.
That last game is versus fellow battlers Lincoln at Belle View Stadium on Saturday 22 April, kick-off 3pm.
- Full match report, statistics and more pictures to follow.