run out 2-1 winners last year when they inaugurated Consett's new ground and
artificial pitch, plastic wasn't quite so fantastic for Peter Beardsley's U21
side at Belle View on Thursday.
The elongated nature of Newcastle's reserve league season saw them without a
competitive game in almost a month and resulted in the staging of various
friendlies in a bid to retain some sort of match fitness, albeit featuring less
experienced lineups than had featured thus far in U21 league games.
United had defeated Northern League Second Division side 8-1 a week earlier but
didn't have things as easy against the First Division Steelmen. Making six
changes from the starting XI at Grounsell Park, the grey-clad Magpies matched
their hosts in the opening stages, Alex Glliead and Jordan Storey testing Chris
Elliott while opposite number Carl Robinson beat away Calvin Smith's shot.
Consett went ahead just before the half hour when Macaulay Gillesphey fouled
Sullivan and Michael Mackay slotted home the resultant penalty. It then became
the Luke Sullivan show, as the striker completed a ten minute treble for his
hometown club, winning a one on one with Robinson before lashing home from
distance and wrapping up his hat trick with a neat lob.
First half added time saw Adam Nicholls shoot home to make it five without
reply, with Consett opting to make all five of their substitutions at the
United did get on the scoresheet after 57 minutes when Jonathyn Quinn crossed
for Greg Olley to sidefoot home, but the home side then quickly added a further
two goals. Sullivan collected his fourth of the evening before ex-Magpie Chris
Moore struck for 1-7.
The Magpies then staged something of a revival in the closing stages, Stefan
Broccoli tapping into an empty net on 75 minutes before Tom Heardman shot home
barely ninety seconds later. Striker Heardman then headed home Quinn's delivery
with a minute to play before Broccoli was denied in added time by an athletic
goal-line clearance from full back Michael Pearson.
PS: this defeat wasn't totally without precedent, with a Magpies XI of similar
stature trailing 0-4 at half time and going on to lose 1-5 in a friendly played
at Consett's old Belle Vue ground in 2007.