Just before lockdown Consett were handed an FA Vase tie against Northern Counties East League (NCEL) side Maltby Main, from South Yorkshire.
It immediately sent us scuttling to the record books for games against other NCEL clubs, and we found one on this very day against a North Yorkshire side, Selby Town.
Colin Carr’s Steelmen, who were mid-table in Northern League Division One, travelled to The Robins’ Flaxley Road ground on Saturday 7 November 1998 for the 1st Round tie. It was a ground which had once held 7,000 for an FA Cup tie against Bradford Park Avenue.
Selby were founded in 1919 and were members of the Yorkshire League throughout its existence, until 1982. For 1982-83 they became founder members of the NCEL, and by 1998 were in the Premier Division, having been promoted from the 1st Division as champions a couple of years earlier.
They’d won 3-1 at local rivals Tadcaster Albion to set up the tie, while Consett had won by the same scoreline at Northern League 2nd Division side Evenwood Town.
On paper there wasn’t much between the teams, and so it proved on grass as well, as Consett edged a 3-2 victory to give them a place in the last 128.
The home side enjoyed the better of the early stages and young keeper Andy Allen did well to keep them at bay.
Consett went ahead against the run of play on 15 minutes when man of the match Gary Cowley did well down the right to find Colin McLeod, who released Tony Halliday to fire into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
It was Tiger’s eighth goal in nine appearances since signing from Evenwood – one of many reasons why he was quickly becoming a crowd favorite.
The Steelmen enjoyed a good spell, creating a couple more chances, and went 2-0 up when the keeper failed to hold left wing-back Mark Lee’s cross, and Steven Robson forced the ball home from five yards.
Allen did well to tip a powerful shot from Collier over, and Lee cleared off the line from the resulting corner to ensure the score remained 2-0 to Consett at half-time.
A late tackle cost Consett the services of inspirational defender David Gray on 62 minutes, and Selby reduced the arrears when Peter Collier fired in at the far post.
Consett almost made the game safe when Halliday had a shot saved and Robson’s goalbound attempt from the rebound was cleared off the line.
Selby were awarded a penalty when Allen was harshly judged to have fouled centre-forward Gary Cygan, and although the 18-year-old keeper did brilliantly to save the penalty, Collier followed up to claim his second goal of the game and level the scores.
The winning goal came in the 87th minute when Consett scored with the best move of the game. Kieran McGinley played a great crossfield ball to McLeod, who sent over a fine near-post cross for Steven Robson to expertly flick the ball home.
Consett had to ensure almost 10 minutes of stoppage time, but held out to win what really was an excellent cup tie.
The Steelmen side exited the Vase in the next round, losing 3-1 at Mossley, who were third-top of the North West Counties League. But they did go on to finish 8th in the Northern League – their best for eight years.
Selby finished 11th in the NCEL that season, and were in the Premier Division until 2011-12, when they were relegated to the 1st Division, where they remain.