Shildon returned to the top of the Northern League Division One table on Saturday after a 2-0 win at Consett’s new Belle Vue Stadium.

Paul Connor, who could have had a hat trick, opened the scoring early in the second half and the tie was put beyond the home side when Ben Wood scored with 15 minutes to play.

Consett started the brighter on their new artificial surface, using the conditions as well as their knowledge of the pitch to take the game to the Railwaymen.

Shildon, on the other hand, struggled with the stiff and freezing wind blowing into their faces.

All the same, Consett were limited to shots form distance and failed to trouble Lewis Graham in the Shildon goal.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, the Railwaymen eventually warmed to the task, finding their feet and their way towards the Consett goal. A through ball to Paul Connor provided the best chance of the half and with just the goalkeeper to beat, it seemed a certainty Shildon would enter the break with the lead. But somehow, the top scorer lost his composure and blazed the chance over the bar.

The end to the first half hinted that the visitors, with the icy wind at their backs, might respond more positively in the second half, and it took just five minutes for Connor to atone for his earlier miss.

Jamie Harwood collected the ball in his own half and strode forward before feeding Mark Hudson. The captain twisted inside the box and squared to Connor who this time kept his composure to deftly chip the ball over the keeper and into the corner.

The goal forced the hosts to push players forward and Shildon should have taken better advantage of the chances they created on the break. Lewis Graham was also forced to participate in the game and saved the visitors on a couple of occasions.

But it was Connor who was again presented with a great opportunity to double Shildon’s lead. Put through by Jamie Harwood with a long ball over the Consett midfield, he again found himself bearing down on Elliot’s goal and had perhaps too much time to think about his finish. Consequently, the keeper was able to touch the ball away from him as he tried to round him and the chance was lost.

While the fans remained aware that a one goal gap was a vulnerable lead, so were the players, but unlike the nervous fans, they continued to take the game to their hosts and with just 15 minutes remaining, they were rewarded for their endeavour.

A long throw down the wing found Sam Garvie, who glanced up and crossed to Ben Wood in space in the box. The striker controlled the ball with his first touch before smashing an unstoppable shot across the keeper and into the bottom corner.

It was a dominant second half display by the visitors who deservedly returned home with the three points.

And with news filtering through that the league leaders had fallen to a 3-1 defeat at Newcastle Benfield, Shildon will once again spend the weekend at the top of the table.