Clear skies in Consett and a slight breeze welcome Northallerton Town on a day they desperately need points. Last week's disappointment against Whickham is forgotten and the lads look ready for the task.
The game kicked off with Consett stroking the ball around on their 3G carpet, however it was Town who were having the better opportunities. Nathan Stephenson and Alex Bruton both had early chances,
Stephenson saw his effort blocked by the Consett keeper and Bruton could only fire left of the upright from inside the box. Consett were a threat on the break and had an opportunity as they burst down the left and the ball was crossed in with no striker to be seen - much to the relief of the Town defence.
Aleks Petrovic continued his excellent form by managing to stop a Consett effort from the edge of his area. This began a period of Consett ascendancy and they were playing some academy style football. Petrovic again pulled off a great save to keep the ball out of the Town net. This latest foray saw a ball whipped in from the left and find a Consett head from close-range and Petrovic adjusts his shape and with great reflexes gets a foot out to block the goalbound effort and deny a certain goal.
Town were countering at every opportunity and were definitely creating the better chances as the half wore on but Consett had control of the ball.
A mistake by Shaun Ryder near the halfway line gave Consett another break but in typical Shaun Ryder fashion, he tracked him down and won the ball back on the edge of the area. Consett did hit both the post and the crossbar before Micky Rae and Alex Bruton both had chances to break the deadlock late in the first half. The former's effort, in particular, was a well-struck effort that was well saved following a great move by Town.
Half-Time: Consett AFC 0 - 0 Northallerton Town
Consett came out the more determined in the second half, desperate to make something happen but again Town were looking to nick one on the break. A cross from the right found a powerful Rae header that found the crossbar, was the stand-out effort, sandwiched between periods of pressure from Consett.
Most of the early efforts from Consett found themselves being tried from distance and scarcely troubled Petrovic.
Dale Hopson was coming more into the game with some classy football. He played a great ball out wide to Bruton who in turn found Micky Rae inside the area. Rae stuck his effort hard and low but into a pitchside board just to the left of the upright. Jack Stapley was also starting to make an impact on the game, making his trademark jinking runs and had his own shot inside the area, blocked by their keeper.
However, Consett were still in control of the game and this time a much better effort was struck from distance, luckily wide of the right-hand post.
Then, the move of the game sparked some life into proceedings. Jack Stapley wide on the right-hand side, skins his defender sending him to the left, then right and left again before passing the ball to Micky Rae on the edge of the box, who stepped over the ball and let it run into the feet of the on-rushing Dale Hopson. Hopson took a touch to set himself and fired the perfect strike into Consetts top right corner to take the lead and excite a crowd of 475.
Luke Jones now on for Alex Bruton had an effort that drifted just wide before Consett had their best chance yet. A real scramble in the Town box surely should have brought an equaliser but the defence managed to clear the danger. With Town's final foray of the game, Sean Chidanyika played in Jack Stapley who in turn fed Luke Jones. Jones' cheeky back-heeled effort drifted just wide of the left upright - in what would have been an exquisite finish.
Consett had one last effort at goal and that was from the edge of the area but a hard and low strike was taken comfortably by Petrovic and the game was seen out by Town.
Full-Time: Consett AFC 0 - 1 Northallerton Town
An excellent result and some top performances. Our defenders were outstanding today, Captain Tommy Marron, Charlie Graham, and Matthew Crust worked like you wouldn’t believe for this result, one of the most memorable ever.
XI: Petrovic, Marron, Crust, Graham, Stapley, Chidanyika, Ryder, Bruton, Stephenson, Rae, Hopson
Subs: L Jones, Alderson
Goals: Hopson (82')
XI: Hayes, Smith, Francis, Martin, Holden, Carr, Orrell, Green, Marriott, Heslop, Larkin
Subs: Lawson, Slocombe, Cassidy, Dowson, Pearson
Report by Jason Bleanch