FEW could have foreseen the outcome of this match against fellow mid-table opponents, particularly after one of the best performances of the season at Norton just three days earlier. After taking the lead through one of the club's youngest-ever goalscorers, Consett conceded a soft equaliser and went on to suffer their joint-worst defeat of the season, equalling the four-goal deficits suffered against Whitley Bay, Billingham Synthonia (twice), Marske United and Billingham Town. Kenny Lindoe made two changes to the side which won in midweek, with 16-year-old Ryan King making his full debut and Anthony Lund returning to the starting line-up. They took the places of the unavailable Richie Slaughter and David Scorer, with Lund reverting to left-back and Ryan Bell switching to centre-half.
Consett started brightly, and had a chance inside two minutes, when a good passing move down the right saw Dale Burrell tee up Matty Slocombe, who missed his kick. Four minutes later, Burrell sent King away down the right, and he pulled the ball back for Lewis Teasdale, whose shot under pressure went into the side netting. Then a slick five-man move which started with Jack Stanger ended with Slocombe trying his luck from 25 yards, but his shot was held by Shildon keeper Keith Finch.
Shildon had their first chance on 13 minutes, when a free-kick from inside their own half found Danny Richmond, who slipped the ball inside to Ben Wood. He homed in on goal, but Consett keeper
Peter Jameson stood up well.
On 26 minutes Consett took the lead, and it was Ryan King - still 20 days short of his 17th birthday - who scored it. The move began with a ball down the right flank by Pearson to Teasdale, whose cross to the near post found King. The young striker's shot was cleared out of the crowded goalmouth, and Mackay tried to follow it up, but the near-side linesman signalled that the ball had crossed the line, for King's first goal in Consett colours.
Seven minutes later, Teasdale ballooned a chance over the bar, and the No 9 had another shot blocked as half-time approached, seemingly with Consett well on top. But disaster struck six minutes before the break when Danny Richmond's cross from the left found centre-forward Billy Greulich-Smith at the back post, where the lanky former Hartlepool United striker headed home unchallenged.
Half time: Consett 1-1 Shildon
Less than a minute into the second half Shildon were ahead, and it was down to un uncharacteristic mistake by Consett skipper Carl Piecha. He trod on the ball, surrendering possession to Sam Garvie, and the nippy winger sped away before slotting past the exposed Jameson.
Six minutes into the half, every Consett player, official and supporter in the ground experienced a sense of deja vu when Peter Jameson picked up a Ryan Bell backpass, and the referee awarded a free-kick. Unlike the Ashington game two weeks earlier, there was no contesting this decision, but this time the defensive wall on the line did its job, and the danger was averted.
Conceding a goal so early in the half had knocked Consett's confidence, and Shildon began to take control. Lund cleared Greulich-Smith's side footed effort off the line after Garvie pulled the back for him, and
from the resulting corner Jameson did well to turn Garvie's shot over the bar. Greulich-Smith threatened to increase Shildon's lead from the second corner, but this time Pearson cleared off the line. On 73 minutes Shildon's pressure paid off when they went 3-1 up. Robbie Clarkson's right-wing corner was headed down by Richard Flynn, and Greulich-Smith converted from barely two yards out.
Four minutes later Consett had a good chance to reduce the arrears when Lund's cross from the left picked out Teasdale, but he was leaning back as he shot, and fired over the bar. Shildon's tails were up now, and substitute Lee Chapman set up the unmarked Flynn for another chance, which he fired over the top. Fellow sub Nicholas Kane then had the ball in the net from Ben Wood's pass, but he had been flagged offside a moment before.
As full-time approached, Shildon scored a fourth goal through sub Kane, who ran from the centre circle right through the middle of the Consett defence, before slotting easily past the exposed Jameson. And two minutes into added time, Greulich-Smith completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot. Piecha was adjudged to have fouled Wood in the box after letting the ball run across him, and the big No 9 put the spot-kick beyond the despairing dive of Jameson, who went the right way, but couldn't get close enough. The final score of 5-1 was harsh, but in truth they never recovered from conceding early in the second half.
Full time: Consett 1-5 Shildon