Whickham’s win streak was snapped after Consett turned the game around to win 2-1 at the Belle Vue Stadium WRITES ADAM TONES
Zak Atkinson grabbed his seventh of the season, while Consett striker Dale Pearson scored both the home teams goals.
Consett fans saw Andy Coyles take charge of his first game for the club, following his appointment as interim manager at the start of the week.
The teams were evenly matched for the majority, Whickham looking the more likely to open the scoring.
Atkinson had a great chance with only three minutes on the clock. The striker running onto a ball over the top, his effort though could only find the side netting.
Atkinson did manage to get his name on the scoresheet 15 minutes later, following a brilliant mazy run from Jack Robson down the righthand side before squaring the ball to Atkinson for a tap in.
Scott Jasper could and should have doubled Whickham’s lead a minute later from three-yards but the striker couldn’t bring the ball down, allowing Consett to clear their lines.
Consett started to get a foothold in the game after the half hour mark, creating a number of openings but were unable to beat James Anderson in the Whickham net.
Consett continued to put the Whickham back four under pressure. A floated ball into the back post was headed goal bound but Dominic Agnew was in the right place to head clear.
The home side equalised three minutes before half-time through a Dale Pearson spot-kick after Whickham debutant Ryan Bolton was judged to have fouled Oliver Scott in the box, allowing Pearson to level the scores.
Consett’s early second-half pressure paid off as Pearson scored his second of the match from close range.
Pearson thought he had his hat-trick a minute later, but his effort was ruled out for outside.
Whickham brought on Kurtis Russell and Scott Robson with around 20 minutes to play. Both players helping Whickham push for an equaliser.
Scott Robson almost set up a frantic final 15 minutes but his header from a Declan Bissett corner sailed just over the Kyle Hayes’ crossbar.
Consett had the ball in the back of the net again on 77 minutes, however the linesman correctly waved his flag for offside.
The home supporters were left nervous for the final five minutes after seeing Dan Marriott given his second yellow following a misjudged tackle bringing the home side down to 10 men.
The final chance of the match fell to Scott Robson, with the midfielder driving from his own half, skipping past a couple of Consett players, neatly playing a one-two before firing his shot over the crossbar.
Consett remain top of the league, extending their lead over West Auckland Town to 10 points. While Whickham remain in ninth place.
After the game Whickham manager Tony Fawcett said: ‘’I thought it was a good game of football, a close game. I thought we were terrific first half creating quite a few chances, we should have been ahead at half time. The goal before half-time is a difficult one to take. I think in the second half Consett played better than us, they moved the ball quicker in certain areas.
‘’The lads huffed and puffed and never rolled over. They kept trying to play and influence the game in a good way. As much as we are disappointed there is a lot of positives we can take from the game.
‘’It’s not the easiest of places to come at the best of times and we’ve put on a good performance. Arguably we were the better of the teams in the first half. We are a new group, there has been some changes and as devastating as the lads feel, they’ve performed well.’’
Conor Newton produced a Man-of-the-Match performance following his first start since September.
Fawcett said: “Conor is an unbelievable player and I think he showed that first half, he absolutely bossed it. He hasn’t played for a while and as the game went on, mentally he started to sway. That’s just down to lack of playing games, the more he plays the more he’ll influence games.”
He continued: ‘’People like young Dec (Declan Bisset) will learn a lot off him, Dec is a phenomenal player but playing a long side Conor he is only going to learn off him. Conor brings good mannerisms to the way we expect people to perform and play.’’
Whickham line-up: Anderson, Bolton, Agnew, Galbraith, Moody (Priest 45’), Bissett, Burrell ©, Newton (S. Robson 65’), J.Robson (K.Russell 72’), Atkinson, Jasper.
Unused subs: Parral, Below.
Goal: Atkinson 18’