A Bit Of A Mixed Bag
Alan Jessup-Peacock updates us on Concord Rangers’ season so far, as the Beachboys are almost assured of a playoff place.
Lately the fortunes of Concord Rangers have been as mixed as the weather! Since the end of March it really has been a rollercoaster for the Beachboys & their fans, and it’s not hard to see why given the fact that the team are running on empty (as most teams with hectic schedules are right now).
The topsy turvy run of form began on the 28th March with a tough away trip to fellow playoff (and possibly title) hopefuls Wealdstone. An early sending off for Leon McKenzie made the job difficult for Concord on the night, however some exceptional defending and determined play kept the game scoreless through the first half. John Easterford rose above all others midway through the second half to give the Beachboys the lead they deserved after being the better side even with ten men. However two quick goals in the last five minutes gave Wealdstone the victory. There were some ugly scenes at the final whistle from the Wealdstone “fans” invading the pitch, but highlighting the details would give them publicity they do not deserve.
Another away game lay ahead on Easter Monday, this one being the second of the season’s Island Derby games against Canvey Island. To be completely honest it wasn’t the greatest game between the two sides, but Concord ran away easy winners on the day by a 2-0 scoreline. An early Tony Stokes goal & a bit of luck from Jason Hallett got the job done against a Canvey team seemingly not bothered (save for maybe one or two players) whether they won or lost.
Two more defeats followed for the Beachboys (at home to Hendon & away at East Thurrock) which really killed off any hopes of pushing Whitehawk all the way for the title, but the playoffs were (and still are) a very good possibility. Before the playoffs though there was the small matter of the Isthmian League Cup final against Dulwich Hamlet. I won’t go into detail as there’s already a great report on Concord’s official site by Jack Junior Smith on the match which sums it up completely, but after extra time Concord Rangers won 3-2 on the night. The celebrations after the game continued long into the morning for some of us, and it was a date that will live long in the Beachboys memory, even more so for captain Tony Stokes who that day announced he and his partner are expecting their first child.
Concord were brought back down to earth with one hell of a bump this past Saturday though, as relegation threatened Harrow Borough came to Thames Road and pulled off an unexpected 2-1 victory. Players were playing injured, four solid penalty appeals were waved away by the ref, & two sending off offences were also ignored and just punished with yellow cards, but even so it was a tough defeat to stomach. This made it four league losses from the last five games, three of them in a row, which is the poorest run we’ve been on this season. Every team has blips, and it appears that ours has come right at the business end of the season.
The final four games of the season will be tough, as all games are in this league. Tonight Concord travel to Leiston (this game ended with a 3-0 win for Concord), visit Met Police on Saturday, go to Kingstonian next Monday before ending the regular season at home to Leiston on Saturday 27th April. Now, depending on how those games go, the playoffs will take place during the following week, 2nd & 3rd place will host 5th & 4th place teams respectively before the final on Saturday May 4th. Obviously we’d love to see Concord there, so it’s fingers crossed as the final weeks come and go. It won’t be easy though, and the lads will need all the support they can get. It’ll be good to see as many of you as possible at the games!
You Are My Concord!