Pete Sixmsith was at the bus stop in time but the United to Sacramento – see Advochaat at https://safc.blog/2015/07/dicks-post-sacramento-advochaat-its-just-pre-season/ – must already have gone. So he pitched up at Consett instead …
The Development Squad continued its tour of the west of Durham by moving up the A68 from Tow Law to Consett, a distance of eight miles but worlds apart football wise.
Tow Law look to be permanent strugglers in Northern League Division Two and their ground has a charm about it that sends visiting groundhoppers into paroxysms of delight if they can stand the cold.
Consett, on the other hand, are a side with genuine ambitions for winning the Northern League First Division and have brought some good players into the club this summer. They left their old ground of Belle Vue a couple of years ago, selling the land to the County Council who are currently constructing an academy there, and in a spectacular reversal of the normal, bought a supermarket site and built a ground on that.
Belle View Park could not be described as interesting, attractive or outstanding. It is functional, with two small stands, neither of which give any elevation and a huge club house and social bloc, which is the new ground’s raison d’etre.
Consett is no longer the fire breathing, red dust coated town it was when I first went there in the early 1960s. The steel works are long gone and have been grassed over and even the Phileas Fogg factory that came into Medomsley Road, Consett to provide (slightly) different jobs for the puddlers and boilermakers and ladlers made redundant when the government of She Who Must Be Obeyed suggested that British Steel turn off the blast furnaces, is about to close.
The football team have never achieved much since. They have bagged a couple of cups, but have also been relegated and for the last few years, have been seemingly content to swim along steadily in the middle of the First Division.
But the new ground has ignited passions and with a capable and well connected manager in Colin Myers, once assistant manager at Shildon, they are talking of looking for promotion to the Northern Premier League.
So, it proved to be a much stiffer test for the Dev Squad. No Vergini this time, but there was a first half appearance by Valentin Roberge, back from a not very distinguished loan spell at Rennes and, like the Argentinian, deemed very much surplus to requirements.
Chavis Marias also played and again looked lively. He set up one good chance for Mikael Mandron (spurned) and then repeated the trick (taken) to send us in 1-0 up at half time. Roberge read the game well, but his lack of physicality let him down a couple of times and reinforced the feeling it is right to move him on.
James Talbot had a very good half in goal, showing considerable agility in coming for the ball. He is definitely one to watch for the future.
Other than that, Martin Smith skippered the side and drove us forward well. Lyndon Gooch played the second half and was as impressive as he had been on Saturday and George Honeyman also appeared after the break. He is another player who looks as if he could make a career out of the game although it may not be at Premier League level. He reminds me of Andy Reid in his ability to create his own space and to pick out a defence splitting pass. I cannot say whether he also plays the guitar or eats pizza by the boatload.
Mandron smashed home a penalty to make it 2-0 and then had another one saved by Peter Jeffries in the Consett goal before they pulled one back with a fine strike.
However, Lyndon Gooch went down to the other end and wrapped it up with a third to give us a well-deserved win and an excellent work out.
A similar score from Sacramento would have been a bonus.