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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mackay's magic divides the sides

Consett 4 – 2 Guisborough Town

(Or a week where it was Michael Mackay 9 – 3 Guisborough Town and Jarrow Roofing)

It is oversimplistic to suggest that Consett are a one man team and whenever a player scores, someone has to supply the goods. But the simple difference between Guisborough and Consett today was a centre forward who is too good for this division. Incredibly, after a lean spell of just one goal in seven games, Michael Mackay has now scored nine goals in three days and
every one of his side’s goals in the last one hundred and eighty minutes.

Consett has a rich history, including a rich seam of coal that was tapped into and utilised for generations before de-industrialisation ravaged communities such as this. Regeneration has been (and still is) a government buzz-word, as though a few glossy projects can act as a sticking plaster over a gaping sore. Nevertheless, the most recent plans are for a new ground for Consett as part of a reputed £20 million complex for the community. Consett’s current home at Belle Vue is soaked in history and it is perhaps for the last time a Guisborough side will travel there.

I cannot pretend to be disappointed if this is our last journey as the ground holds few positive footballing memories for Guisborough fans, not least the humbling 12-1 club record defeat 6 seasons ago. There was never any risk of such a scoreline today, but Guisborough kicked against an incredibly strong wind in the first half where players looked as though they were wading through treacle as they battled against a gale and muddy pitch. On more than one occasion goal kicks which were heading for the half way line were sucked back by the wind and the ball was out of play frequently. Despite such a strong advantage, for much of the first half Consett struggled to capitalise.

As the wind rattled the floodlights and whistled around the main stand, the Consett home support struggled to suppress their mounting frustrations. As these frustrations threatened to boil over, right on cue arrived Michael Mackay. He opened the scoring from close range as Guisborough failed to clear their lines, before dinking the ball delightfully past Norton to double
Consett’s advantage. At 2-0, with the elements as they were this was far from game over. But despite having to defend manfully against the wind, Consett were quick to break and looked to have sealed the game when Mackay (who else?) eclipsed the brilliance of his second goal by repeating the feat at the other end of the pitch but this time having to contend with the wind in his face.

The game, however, was far from finished. Nathan Steel nodded home to reduce the deficit before repeating the trick only moments after the restart. With Consett hearts in mouths, Steel somehow connected with a swirling cross and appeared to have levelled the tie, only for a smart one handed stop from the young Consett stopper. Despite Mackay’s four goals, this incident was
perhaps the defining moment of the game. Had Guisborough levelled the game it is quite likely they would have gone on to win. Poole – against his old side –nodded over from close range and for a short time it was all Guisborough.

Mackay though was not finished. With the visitors pouring forward in search of a goal, he put the game to bed with his fourth goal and extended Guisborough’s winless sequence against Consett.

Despite the defeat, this was a good Guisborough performance. The conditions were treacherous and we were shorn of six regular players. Johnson, Luke and Lee Bythway, I’Anson, Wood and Boland were all missing and a young side battled hard and almost pulled off a miraculous turn around.

Consett has a rich tradition of producing footballers and referees – Frank Clark and Mark Clattenburg both being notable examples. Another less well known name is Michael Kay – a youngster plying his trade with Tranmere Rovers. As I left Belle Vue today, I was left with the overwhelming feeling that a man of almost the same name should perhaps still be playing League
football given his clinical performance over the ninety minutes here.

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