CONSETT earned their first win of the season with an impressive display against big-spending 1st Division newcomers Celtic Nation. Two goals in six second-half minutes proved enough to send the club formerly known as Gillford Park home to Carlisle empty-handed. Manager Kenny Lindoe made one change to the side which had draw at Sunderland RCA three days earlier, Michael Pearson returning in place of Scott Martindale, who was working.
The visitors, with six ex-professionals in their ranks, had the first chance after three minutes, when ex-Whitby midfielder Jeff Smith's shot from a pullback from the byline was deflected beyond Consett keeper Peter Jameson, but centre-half David Scorer was on hand to clear.
Two minutes later a long ball forward by skipper Carl Piecha gave the Steelmen their first chance, but although Lewis Teasdale took on and beat his man, his left-footed shot was always drifting wide. The visitors were clearly no slouches, but Consett gradually took control, and should have taken the lead after carving out two great chances in the space of three minutes.
First, Ryan Bell broke out of defence and sent Michael Mackay scuttling down the left. He reached the byline and pulled the ball back for Calvin Smith, who looked certain to score from 12 yards, but saw his shot blocked by a defender as he tried to place it. Two minutes later, Mackay himself had an even better opportunity, when an excellent pass by Andrew Cuthbertson sent him clear. With a defender breathing down his neck and the keeper racing out at him, the No10 had to act quickly, and his left-footed lob dropped just wide.
There followed a spell of Celtic Nation pressure, which coincided with Consett keeper Jameson twice needing treatment for a knee injury. The teenager saved well from Smith's well-struck 25-yarder, with Pearson getting in a crucial tackle as Stephen Archibald looked likely to net the rebound. The still-struggling Jameson's poor kick-out from a backpass then put his side in trouble, but Piecha saved the day with a well-timed tackle as Matthew Hamshaw homed in on goal. Archibald wasted the best chance of the half when Hamshaw's cross found him unmarked six yards out, but he headed weakly straight at Jameson.
As half-time loomed the visitors had one more chance, and Consett fans could have been forgiven for thinking 'not again' when Piecha gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box. Hamshaw's effort beat the wall, but not Jameson, who dived to save low to his right - the exact same spot where he had been beaten by Tadcaster's winning goal a week earlier.
Half time: Consett 0-0 Celtic
The second half saw Consett come out with much more purpose, with Mackay and Teasdale defending from the front and not allowing the visiting defenders any time to dwell on the ball. Five minutes in, the pair combined in an attacking sense, with Teasdale flicking on for Mackay, whose low shot was saved by Lowson.
On 62 minutes Consett got the goal they deserved, with their best move of the game. Ian Davidson started it in his own half, and it ended with Mackay backheeled the ball into the path of Cuthbertson just inside the box. The midfielder still had plenty to do, but rode two challenges, before finishing into the top right corner for his first goal since rejoining the club.
It was the first time the visitors had conceded this season, and six minutes later their deficit was doubled. Mackay won a free-kick on the edge of the box when he was brought down by Stephen Skinner, and Teasdale's perfectly flighted dead-ball was headed home across the keeper by Bell, arriving late at the back post.
Consett were now in complete control, and Smith almost made it three when he fired just over from 30 yards as a free-kick was only half-cleared.
The visitors rung the change, making three substitutions in a bid to claw their way back. Their best chance fell to one of the subs, James Parker, who headed over from a right-wing cross. But Consett soaked up their late pressure well, with Piecha, Scorer and Pearson holding firm, ably supported by Bell and Davidson, a hard-working midfield and two forwards who chased down every ball.
When the final whistle went it was a well-deserved three points for Consett, against a side tipped by many to be one of the surprise packages of the season.
Full time: Consett 2-0 Celtic