Consett eased into the knockout stage of the League Cup as they beat Brandon United on a night of firsts – one of them unwanted.
It was the Steelmen’s first visit to the Welfare Ground in 15 years, and they won 5-0 to top Group D with a 100% record, with four wins from four games.
Michael Brown made his first start for the club, and scored his first goal, while Dan Hawkins got his first goal in more than two years after recovering from a career-threatening injury.
But Matty Slocombe also made history of the unwanted kind, becoming the first Consett player ever sent to the sin bin, for dissent to the referee late in the game.
The hosts made things hard for their visitors in the first half an hour, working hard and denying them space. Their best chance came in the 28th minute, when Calvin Smith hit a superb effort from 25 yards, which young keeper Callum Simms touched onto and over the bar.
But the midfielder, who is enjoying his best-ever season in front of goal, was not to be denied, and broke the deadlock a minute later, firing in from eight yards after Andrei-Vasile Ardelean had headed down Jake Stafford’s corner. It was Smith’s 11th goal of the season.
Three minutes later it was 2-0, as Dan Hawkins cut in from the left and fired past the keeper, with the aid of a deflection.
It was the midfielder’s first goal since August 2017, when he scored in a 4-3 win at Stockton Town, though he has spent much of the intervening time injured.
It remained 2-0 at half-time, but within nine minutes of the restart it was three, as Hawkins turned provider for Michael Brown to lash home his first senior goal for the club on his first competitive start.
It was Brown’s last part in the game, as he was replaced by Dale Pearson, and the big striker made it 4-0 in the 77th minute, firing in left-footed after a free-kick from fellow sub Jake Orrell. The goal was Pearson 11th in his last nine games, making him joint-top scorer.
Slocombe, who had come on for Smith at half-time, earned his dubious place in club history in the 84th minute, when he was sin-binned for dissent after contesting the award of a free-kick against him a little too vigorously with the referee.
But the 10 men of Consett made it 5-0 in the 87th minute when Orrell’s cross from the left saw Andrei-Vasile Ardelean volley in from six yards to complete the scoring.
- Full match report and more pictures to follow.