A CONSETT side who had scored 16 goals in their last three games - and were averaging four a game in the league this season - drew their first blank against a dogged Penrith, who picked up their first point of the season. It looked like a night when the first goal would be enough to claim all three points, but in the end the sides had to be content with one apiece, as neither had the guile to win the game.
Kenny Lindoe made one change to the side which had put eight past Stokesley four days earlier, David Scorer returning to the starting line-up for the previously ever-present Ryan Bell, who had a knock. There were lots of unfamiliar faces in the ranks of the visitors, who had lost a lot of experienced Northern League players in the summer.
Consett were out of the blocks quickly, and had three chances in the first five minutes. Lewis Teasdale scuffed a shot wide in the first minute, Scott Blandford tried his luck from fully 35 yards, and was unlucky to see his effort clear the crossbar, and a low, hard cross from Teasdale saw Michael Mackay, arriving late at the back post, just unable to steer his toe-poke on target.
On nine minutes, Blandford, who had started brightly, tested Penrith's long-serving goalkeeper James
Holland for the first time, forcing him to save smartly down low to his right with a snapshot from 20 yards. Dale Burrell also looked dangerous cutting in from the right, but shanked his left-foot shot beyond the angle
of post and bar.
Having withstood Consett's initial spell of pressure, Penrith came more into the game as an attacking force, and Barry Poskett was relieved to see his fumbled save from Andy Murray-Jones's low drive spill out for a corner, rather than into the back of the net. Scorer just managed to get his head to a cross from Aaron Roberts, with his teammate Willy Paul waiting unmarked at the back post.
Burrell was then an unlikely saviour for Consett as Dan Robinson's through ball seemed to put Murray-Jones in on goal, but the wide man got back to save the day with an excellent tackle just as the No 10 was about to pull the trigger. Then Robinson wasn't too far away with a shot on the turn from just inside the box.
At the other end, Teasdale was Consett's liveliest forward, and his left-footed effort as he cut in from the right, beating three challenges, fizzed just wide. There was a real let-off for Consett when Stephen Tobin got caught ball-watching as a cross came in from the left, and Roberts nipped in between him and his goalkeeper, but the No 11's header was off-target.
Penrith then gave Consett two chances with defensive mistakes of their own. Holland's weak clearance fell to Burrell, who snatched at his shot and hit it wide, and then one of their centre-halves missed his kick, which seemed to let it Marc Walton, but Holland atoned for his earlier error by racing off his line to clear. Half-time arrived with the game scoreless, and looking as if it might end that way. Consett had played the better football, but Penrith had closed them down quickly, not allowing them time or space.
Half time: Consett 0-0 Penrith
Six minutes into the second half Teasdale came the closest so far to breaking the deadlock. He picked up the ball out on the left, and drove into the box before unleashing a fierce shot which looked destined for the top corner until Holland beat it away - an excellent save. Then Teasdale started what was probably Consett's best move of the game, releasing Burrell down the right. The No 7 reached the byline and crossed for Mackay, whose front-post flick went beyond the back stick to Walton, who found the angle too tight, and drove into the side netting.
Phil Thornton stabbed just wide after a Penrith free-kick on the left was played low and hard to the front of the six-yard box, and then Poskett had to be alert to keep out a first-time effort from Grant Davidson, which he saved with his feet.
Anthony Lund came on for the out-of-sorts Walton and Gavin Ross for Teasdale as Consett tried to up the pace in the last 20 minutes, but it was to no avail. Burrell scuffed a shot wide after good work by Lund down the left, Scorer's header from Burrell's corner looped over, and Blandford curled a 25-yard free-kick well wide as the game reached the 90-minute mark.
When the referee blew his whistle to signal Consett's first 0-0 draw since April 2010, when they were involved in a stalemate at Bedlington, they couldn't honestly say they had done enough to merit all three points, with the visitors fully deserving their hard-earned point.
Full time: Consett 0-0 Penrith