A GUTSY display by a depleted Consett side saw them end a five-match losing run as they gained swift revenge for their home defeat by their hosts three days earlier. Manager Kenny Lindoe was forced to make two changes to the side beaten 3-0 at Belle Vue on Saturday, with David Molloy and Michael Pearson cup-tied. Skipper Carl Piecha returned in central defence after a seven-week lay-off, and there was a debut on the right side of midfield for 17-year-old Matthew Slocombe.
West had a flurry of early half-chances, without really troubling visiting keeper Peter Jameson, but it was Consett who drew first blood on 13 minutes. Anthony Lund played in Michael Mackay, and although keeper Mark Bell beat out his first-time shot, the ball fell kindly for Harrison Davies, who fired home from 12 yards.
A minute later, West were almost on terms when Adam Nicholls burst through from midfield, and it took a tremendous challenge from David Scorer to thwart his attempt at goal.
An excellent pass from Davies then put Mackay in on his left foot, but the former Hartlepool striker miskicked under pressure from Daryll Hall when a goal looked likely.
Davies then gifted a chance to the opposition when his loose pass gave away the ball on the edge of their box. They broke quickly, and had three men onto one, but Stuart Banks went for goal with two teammates waiting for a pass, which allowed Jameson to save.
They were made to pay for the miss when Davies doubled Consett's lead on 29 minutes. Mackay and strike partner Gavin Ross played a good one-two to forge their way into the box, and when the ball found its way to the No11, he smashed it home first-time to make it 2-0.
Three minutes later West thought they had reduced the arrears when Mattie Moffat headed home an Alex Francis free-kick, but he was flagged offside. Then Banks got the better of Piecha on the edge of the box, but dragged his shot wide.
As half-time approached, Consett had a glorious chance to increase their lead when Scorer's pass out from the back sent Mackay away, and although he forced Bell into a save, a pass to Ross might have been a better option.
Half time: West 0-2 Consett
It remained 2-0 at the break, but Consett's advantage had been halved within three minutes of the restart, when they failed to deal with a right wing free-kick. Hall headed the ball back across goal, and his fellow centre-half Ross Preston volleyed home at the back post.
The visitors were visibly tiring, with few options on the bench, and it was no surprise when West levelled the tie on 79 minutes . The manner of the goal was galling, however, and will cost Consett the services of Piecha for a game after he was shown a straight red card for fouling Moffat as he closed in on goal. Former Steelman Steven Brown, on as a sub just 10 minutes earlier, smashed home the resulting penalty to make it 2-2.
There looked like only one winner now, and West thought they had turned clinched it when Moffat had the ball in the net from Banks's pass on 81 minutes, but Consett were again saved by the linesman's flag.
With four minutes left, it was Consett's turn to almost find a winner. Lund put Davies through in the left-hand channel, but rather than go for goal he crossed to the back post for Mackay. A goal looked inevitable, but Bell pulled off a fine save at the expense of a corner.
Consett were incensed when West sub Paul Garthwaite was shown only a yellow card for a dangerous lunge which took out Ryan Bell in midfield, but there were no more chances, and the game went to extra time.
Full time: West 2-2 Consett
Even though they were down to 10 men, Consett took the game to the home side, and Scorer was unlucky to see a header from Davies's corner kicked off the line. Ryan Bell then cleared off the line at the other end from Nicholls, with Moffat waiting for a tap-in, as the tie to-ed and fro-ed.
West keeper Bell pulled off a point-blank save from Mackay after he was played in by Jonjo Dickman, while at the other end Jameson tipped Jonathan Gibson's free-kick over the bar, and Preston slashed a shot wide.
Dickman had already hit a shot straight at Bell when Davies got his hat-trick, and what turned out to be the winning goal, three minutes into the second period of extra time. The former RCA man picked up the ball midway in the West half, drove at the heart of their defence, and cracked home a left-foot shot into the bottom right corner from 20 yards.
'Harra' almost grabbed a fourth after spotting Bell off his line and trying to lob him from 40 yards, but the last 10 minutes saw the home side throw the kitchen sink at Consett in an attempt to take the tie to penalties. Jameson saved from Nicholls, Gibson fired a 20-yarder just over after a sublime chest pass from Moffat, and, right at the death, Jameson made an excellent save from Banks's header.
When the final whistle went seconds later, 10-man Consett, who had also lost the excellent David Brown with an injured shoulder just before the end of normal time, were deserved winners. Harrison Davies will grab the headlines for his match-winning hat-trick, but this was a real team performance. Six of the 13 players who took part in the game were teenagers, but they came of age with the help of older heads such as Dickman, Mackay, Scorer, Bell and Lund, who held firm when the pressure was on. With seven players missing for a variety of reasons, this game gave real hope that something good can be salvaged from this season after all.
Extra time: West 2-3 Consett