Harrison Davies fires in the opener
AFTER a slow start, Consett eventually made it through the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Vase at a canter, beating 2nd Division Alnwick Town comfortably. Manager Kenny Lindoe made four changes to the starting XI beaten at Durham City on Bank Holiday Monday. Ian Davidson returned at left-back and Ryan Bell in central defence, Gavin Ross made his first start of the season up front, and the recently re-signed Harrison Davies came into midfield. Matty Slocombe and Michael Mackay had to settle for places on the subs' bench, while Andrew Cuthbertson was injured and Lewis Teasdale had flu.
The Steelmen had a chance after just two minutes when Ross got to the byline down the left and sent a good cross to the near post for Steven Aiston, who touched the ball across goal, but no one was close enough to complete what would have been a tap-in. Alnwick, who had lost their previous three games 4-0, had a chance five minutes later when a long ball found Chris Moffat, who lifted his first-time shot wide of the post.
He then turned provider, knocking a great ball in for centre-forward Wyn Fremlin from the right wing, but Consett keeper Peter Jameson was quickly off his line to snatch it from the No 9. Fremlin then latched onto a long ball out of defence, outpaced Bell and nodded the ball past Jameson on the edge of the box, only to stumble and lose his footing.
Luke Sullivan with a diving header
Davies, who was starting to take control of the game, went close with a cheeky chip after dispossessing a defender, and it was him who opened the scoring on 31 minutes, playing a lovely one-two with Aiston before firing home a low shot. Alnwick almost equalised five minutes later when Tony Brown headed goalwards from Fremlin's cross, but Jameson tipped the effort away. Calvin Smith was also started to impose himself on the game, and it was from his cross that Aiston's bullet header was touched over by Alnwick keeper Brian Brooks.
A minute later Luke Sullivan came close to scoring his first goal for the club when his diving header at the back post from Davies' corner was deflected wide after touching adefender. He didn't have to wait long, however, and on 39 minutes made it 2-0, heading home Smith's cross from an almost identical position. Consett had more chances to increase their lead, with Aiston flashing an effort across the face of goal, Slocombe just beaten to a Davies cross by a defender, and Smith firing a 25-yard free-kick just over. It wasn't quite one-way traffic, however, and the Steelmen were grateful to Michael Pearson for clearing Fremlin's shot off the line after he rounded Jameson.
Half time: Consett 2-0 Alnwick
Sullivan gets into a tangle
The second half started how the first had ended, with Consett creating chances. Ross was thwarted on the edge of the box by a good one-handed save by Brooks after an Aiston pass put him clear, Sullivan put another excellent cross across the face of the goal without anyone being able to get on the end of it, and Slocombe just dwelled too long on the ball when a wonderful Davies pass picked him out, which allowed a defender to take it off his toe.
Fremlin continued to wage his one-man war on the Consett defence, and wasn't too far away with a dipping effort from just outside the box. The next goal was crucial, and it went to Consett - and what a strike it was! Smith picked up a stray pass on the halfway, took two strides forward, and, seeing the keeper off his line, chipped him from at least 50 yards.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Alnwick, and they must have felt even worse when their hosts brought top scorer Michael Mackay off the bench with 25 minutes left to play. He was quickly involved, toe-poking an effort wide after running at the visitors' defence, and Davidson tried a long-range effort from the same sort of distance as Smith had scored, but didn't get the necessary dip.
Steven Aiston on the attack
The goalscoring wasn't over, however, and Mackay scored his fourth of the season with seven minutes to go after some unselfish play by Aiston. Substitute Stephen Callen won the ball in his own half and passed to Aiston, who turned his man, went round the keeper, and then squared for his unmarked team-mate to score from six yards.
In the final minute Mackay got a second, latching onto a pass from Davidson before rounding the keeper and slipping the ball home from an angle. Smith almost made it six in added time when he was played in by Mackay after good work by Callen, but he dragged his shot wide. When the final whistle went, 5-0 was perhaps a little unkind on the visitors, but Consett took their chances where Alnwick didn't, harshly highlighting the difference between the two divisions. The Steelmen can look forward to a home game against Hebburn Town, who won 2-1 at Holker Old Boys.
Full time: Consett 5-0 Alnwick