The Beachboys maintained their unbeaten run in 2016, but they know that they gifted the visitors a point after throwing away a two goal lead at the Aspect Arena this afternoon.
As has been the case for the majority of home games this season, the game got underway in blustery conditions and the visitors earned an early free kick inside the opening minute on the edge of the Beachboys box. Scott Davies stepped up for Wealdstone and his effort was well saved by Ben McNamara. Again the visitors threatened on nine minutes when Jefferson Louis fired wide from twenty yards, he should have really hit the target.
Concord started the game slowly, but with their first real attack they took the lead on thirteen minutes. It was the front two who combined again. The most used sentence in a Concord match report this season has been “Cawley scored after an assist from Greenhalgh”, and it was no different today….Ben cut in from the right and crossed with his deadly left foot and the Vanarama National South Player of the Month for February Steve Cawley guided the ball in from six yards for his twenty-first goal of the season.
The opening goal woke the Beachboys up and after Lewis Taaffe was brought down right on the edge of the box on nineteen minutes, the resulting free kick was met with a looping header by Alex Osborn and Bransgrove in the Wealdstone goal did well to tip it away from danger.
Concord probed again on twenty two minutes and Jay Dowie with a rare drive from outside the box stung the hands of Bransgrove in the Wealdstone goal. Concord were just edging on top in a tight encounter. In fact the next twenty minutes of the half were predominantly played in the middle of the park, with neither side giving an inch. Both teams were struggling to create any sustained periods of pressure. As the first half moved into injury time, Wealdstone had their best chance. Marvin Morgan muscled past Steve King and his pass found the on-rushing Scott Davies, his fierce shot was kept out superbly by Ben McNamara.
Concord had the lead as referee Carl Fitch blew for half-time, but it was a tough physical battle.
Concord Rangers 1 Wealdstone 0
The second half got underway, and the Beachboys began on the front foot, there was more purpose and thrust about their attacking play. On forty-nine minutes on-loan wide man Alex Osborn tested the reflexes of Bransgrove again, as the Wealdstone keeper tipped away Alex’s curling shot. A minute later and Concord had another opportunity…the ball was half cleared by the Wealdstone defence and captain James White latched onto it… his toe punt. Yes toe-punt, screamed narrowly wide!
Concord should have doubled their lead in the fifty-second minute, when firstly Jay Dowie’s shot was blocked in the box, it fell to Ben Greenhalgh who made space in the box, and his shot was blocked, it however fell to ace marksman Cawley eight yards out…however Steve lifted his effort over the bar.
On sixty one minutes it was 2-0 though. From a corner Steve King rose highest and his bullet header back across goal flew into the top corner. Concord had a deserved two goal lead and were playing some good football. Confidence was high and Ben Greenhalgh went on one of his trademark jinking runs and a clever chipped effort from twenty yards went just wide of Brangrove’s far post.
Wealdstone are a big physical side and with Morgan and Louis up front, and these two combined to give Wealdstone a way back into this game on sixty-nine minutes. A long free kick was hoisted into the Concord box, and as King and Morgan battled for the ball, it fell to Louis six yards out and he lashed home, to reduce the arrears.
Concord had taken their eye off the ball after going two nil up, and Wealdstone had the impetus from this goal. On seventy-seven minutes, Wealdstone earned another free kick on the left hand side, thirty-five yards from goal. Scott Davies whipped in a dangerous ball and it eluded everyone and flew into Ben McNamara’s far corner. Wealdstone had levelled it up.
Concord were rocked, and it was Wealdstone now searching for a winning goal….Concord though rolled their sleeves up and tried pressing again, Lewis Taaffe now playing more centrally saw a shot well saved on eighty-one minutes. However Hudson-Odoi for Wealdstone was becoming an increasing threat, and his well hit shot was saved by McNamara on eighty-four minutes.
Both sides continued to look for a winner in the closing stages, but no further opportunities were created and as the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the game, the Beachboys will look at this afternoon as two points dropped.
Concord Rangers 2 (Cawley 13, King 61)
Wealdstone 2 (Louis 69, Davies 77)
Line up – McNamara, Hammond, Stephen, King, Easterford; Dowie (sub Cornhill 86mins), White (c), Taaffe, Osborn; Greenhalgh (sub Collins 84mins), Cawley
Subs not used – Lee, Bantick, Lampe
Match report by Chris Clark