AFTER only a handful of such occurrences in their 113-year history, Consett suffered the frustration of having a match abandoned for the second time in nine days. Torrential rain was the cause of the previous week's half-time call-off at Team Northumbria, and it played a part in the curtailing of the home game against Guisborough Town after just 34 minutes. One of the floodlight pylons went off after 16 minutes, causing a 10-minute stoppage while an electrician got it working, only for it to fail again after another 18 minutes' play, and the referee to abandon the game.
The call-off was particularly frustrating for manager Kenny Lindoe, who, with secretary Dave Pyke, had spent two hours forking the pitch to make sure the game went ahead after a heavy afternoon downpour. He welcomed two long-term injury casualties, skipper Carl Piecha and Anthony Lund, back into the starting line-up, along with Ryan Bell, who had returned from holiday after missing the previous two and a half games. They took the places of Ian Davidson, who fell ill during the warm-up, Scott Martindale, who had picked up an injury playing Sunday football, and the unlucky Matty Slocombe, who dropped to the bench.
Consett started brightly enough, creating their first chances after just two minutes. Jack Stanger headed down a cross into the path of Calvin Smith, whose dipping volley from 25 yards just cleared the crossbar. Ten minutes later Smith had another chance, trying his luck from 20 yards, only to see his effort flash wide of the left-hand post.
On 14 minutes Piecha brought the ball out of defence and sent a great pass to Michael Mackay, who cut the ball back into the path of Steven Aiston, but the No 9 swiped at the ball and missed, when a decent connection might have brought a goal. Two minutes later, with rain pouring down, the lights went out on Consett - or one of them did anyway - the pylon nearest the outside playing fields.
After a 10-minute break and the attentions of an electrician, the light came back on, and the game resumed, but the interruption seemed to have upset Consett's rhythm, and it was Guisborough who began to make chances. Goalkeeper Chris Elliott, who had thus far been inactive, had to be quick off his line to save at the feet of centre-forward Bryan Stewart.
On 29 minutes Guisborough - playing in Consett's blue away strip, after forgetting their own - had an excellent chance when Stewart crossed for Nathan Steel, whose header across goal was palmed away by Elliott. The ball dropped nicely for Stewart, who had followed in, and he looked a certain scorer until Stanger cleared his shot off the line.
Three minutes later Guisborough had the ball in the net, when a free-kick by captain Lee Bythway was headed home by Steel, but the 'goal' was disallowed for an off-the-ball foul which saw a Consett player bundled to the ground.
As the match belatedly reached the 34-minute mark the suspect floodlight flickered and then went off again, casting the far corner of the pitch into darkness, and, with the foul night showing no signs of abating, referee Dean Hulme showed no hesitation in bringing the game to an early conclusion.
The abandonment means we now have eight games to fit in to an already-busy schedule - five of them at our dilapidated home ground. And they wonder why we want a new one ...