Calvin Smith controls a high ball
A SPECTACULAR late winner from unlikely hero David Scorer gave Consett a narrow win over Hebburn Town in this FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round tie at Belle Vue. It was a dour game of few chances, but the majority of those that came fell to the Steelmen, who were just about worth the win.
Manager Kenny Lindoe stuck with the team that came drawn with Shildon in midweek, and there was the welcome sight of Ryan Bell and Andrew Cuthbertson on the bench as they returned from injury.
Hebburn arrived full of confidence after their 5-2 midweek win at Billingham Town, and they had the game's first chance on five minutes. A through ball sent midfielder Mark Rasmussen clear, but Chris Elliott narrowed the angle well, and saved the shot, which was to prove the visitors' only one of the first 45 minutes, as Consett took control.
It was 11 minutes before they turned their possession into a chance, and it was midweek goalscorer Steven Aiston who created it. His direct running down the left saw the ball fed inside to Calvin Smith, and the midfielder let fly from 30 yards with a shot which cleared the crossbar by about a foot.
Jack Stanger picks out a pass
Craig Robson then tried his luck from a similar range, and although his effort was on target, it was a simple enough diving save for Hebburn goalkeeper Dan Regan. Midway through the half the best opportunity so far fell to Aiston from Elliott's long punt forward. The ball dropped invitingly for him in the right corner of the penalty box, and he seemed in two minds whether to lob or blast it. The resulting shot was somewhere inbetween, and at a comfortable height and velocity for the grateful Regan to pull it out of the air.
A good one-two between Michael Mackay and Michael Pearson down the right then created a chance for Jack Stanger, but the young midfielder snatched at it, and it flew wide of the right-hand post. Stanger then turned creator, sending a low cross into the near post from near the right corner flag, and Luke Sullivan was a fraction away from turning it in as he attacked the ball.
More good work by Aiston down the left saw him cross into the middle just too high for Sullivan, and a defender got there just before Stanger, coming in behind him. It was all Consett, and a goal seemed only a matter of time.
Sullivan was a whisker away from getting it on 35 minutes when he met Stanger's pinpoint cross from the left with his head and directed a firm header towards the top corner, only to see Regan claw it over the top for a corner. Mackay had a shot blocked after wriggling free of two defenders, Smith hit a 25-yarder over from Sullivan's set-up, and then the No 7 had a chance of his own on the turn, which was on target but lacked power.
Stanger lets fly
Half time: Consett 0-0 Hebburn
The interval arrived with the score somehow 0-0, but when the teams emerged for the second half, Consett were without one of their main attacking threats, Aiston, who was enjoying some success down the flanks.
He was feeling his hamstring, and was replaced by Bell, and the change seemed to upset the Steelmen's rhythm.
Where the chances had flowed freely in the first half, they dried up after the break, and as the second half wore on it looked increasingly like a goalless stalemate, extra time, and possibly even a replay.
Hebburn had an excellent chance on 70 minutes when their left-back Carl Paterson went on a mazy dribble and chipped Elliot from the edge of the area, only to see the ball bounce back off the upright.
Michael Mackay stretches for a pass
With extra time looming, Consett got the breakthrough which had looked increasingly unlikely as they laboured throughout the second 45 minutes. Ian Davidson sent an overhit corner back into the area, and Scorer took to the air to sent a spectacular mid air volley looping over Regan and into the bottom corner.
Hebburn nearly grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser, but centre-half Daniel Kirkup headed over from Stephen Forster's cross from six yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Consett it is then who go through to the 1st Round proper, where they face an awkward trip to 2nd Division Northallerton Town, who won 3-2 at North West Counties League Silsden.
Full time: Consett 1-0 Hebburn