Poorest Performance of the Season
Shildon fell to their third league defeat of the season after a battling Consett side survived the last twenty minutes with ten men to leave Dean Street with all three points.
It was no more than the visitors deserved after arguably the poorest Shildon performance of the season.
The Railwaymen lacked cohesion in every area of the field, struggling defensively while giving the ball away cheaply in the middle and failing to provide an accurate final pass up front.
Yet the home side, with all their failings, lost out to a wicked deflection that proved to be the game’s decisive moment.
Consett started brightly and took an early lead after Ryan King rose unchallenged to nod a corner into the net off the far post.
Lewis Graham in the Shildon goal elected to come off his line, but was easily beaten to the ball and left to flail at the air behind the striker.
Having created nothing of note, Shildon fell further behind after 35 minutes when Consett broke after another poorly aimed pass was intercepted.
Michael Sweet collected the ball at the corner of the Shildon box and his shot this time left Graham with no chance as it struck Gary Brown and sailed over the rooted keeper’s head, hitting the underside of the bar before continuing into the net.
The home side registered no improvement in the early stages of the second half and manager, Gary Forrest, resorted to a triple substitution in an effort the breathe some urgency into the league leaders.
Instead, it was Consett who should have stretched their lead when a free kick by the corner flag sailed straight into the net with Graham again attempting and missing a punch. With two Shildon defenders standing on the line, the referee’s assistant mysteriously ruled the goal out for offside.
Shortly afterwards, Consett were reduced to ten men when Dean Briggs received his marching orders for a wild and unnecessary swing at Gary Brown.
Shildon pressed while Consett spoiled: Sweet received a booking after walking 40 yards towards the dugout before dropping in a heap to the ground, on instruction from the bench, a yard inside the touchline while Matty Slocombe was guilty on several occasions of blasting the ball as far out of Shildon town as he could muster, also from next to the byline – a potentially expensive as well as unsporting tactic if the club are unable to retrieve the pricey footballs.
Consett’s efforts to waste time led to a full ten minutes added to the ninety, and Shildon finally pulled one back in the 98th minute through Mark Doninger – the club’s leading scorer returning to action as one of the trio of substitutes after a lengthy injury spell on the sidelines.
It proved no more than a consolation as time ran out for the spiritless home side. However, it was not the only consolation of the day as news filtered through that two of the club’s main title challengers failed to capitalise on the Railwaymen’s defeat.
As a result, Shildon maintained their seven point lead at the top of the Northern League table ahead of a visit to Ashington next Saturday, although by then the lead may have been reduced with rivals playing in midweek.
Goalscorer: Doninger 98
Subs: Doninger for Greulich-Smith 60, Hayes for Connor 60, Fryatt for Ellison 60.
Bookings: (Y) Ellison, Wood.
Man-of-the-Match: There wasn’t one.