Concord experienced their own Halloween nightmare as they conceded two goals in a minute to lose a hard-fought tussle with Maidstone.
The lads fresh from hitting Harlow for eight in midweek started the game off at a blistering pace and the link-up play between the front four of Cawley, Greenhalgh, Taaffe and Gardner was bright and effective, the so-called impregnable defence of Maidstone was being sorely tested.
After ten minutes Greenhalgh scampered down the left hand flank and delivered a great cross which was side-footed towards goal by Steve Cawley, it looked in…but Worgan in the Maidstone goal had other ideas. He dived to his right and somehow managed to scoop the low shot over the bar..it was reminiscent of Gordon Banks in 1970…for those too young, go check it out on YouTube!
Maidstone hadn’t conceded a goal for five league games, but Concord were battering them. Twenty minutes in and the lively Greenhalgh crossed dangerously into the box again and the ball was hooked off the line by the Maidstone defence…Concord were all over high flying Maidstone. The visitors weren’t getting a look in. It was impressive stuff by the Beachboys.
After forty-two minutes Concord took a deserved lead. Lewis Taaffe played in down the right by the elusive Greenhalgh, crossed the ball for Steve Cawley on the back post, however the cross was intercepted..but who was there…Greenhalgh. He cooly side-footed home to haunt his old club and put the Beachboys in front.
The referee blew his whistle for half time and Concord deservedly went into the break in front.
Concord Rangers 1 Maidstone 0
Into the Second half, and Concord were still on the front foot…Worgan came rushing out of his area to clear a through ball on forty-nine minutes, but the ever willing Cawley had closed his space and pinched possession. Cawley wide on the right hand side had the goal gaping, but he was out on the touchline twenty-five yards from goal…Steve pulled the trigger, but his shot just went wide.
Maidstone upped the intensity but James White and Jay Dowie were winning everything in centre-midfield, every fifty-fifty was theirs. With Gardner and Taaffe on the flanks proving equally effective going forward and tracking back, Concord were more than a match for their opponents.
Then Concord suffered their own horror moment on Halloween. After Ben McNamara pulled off his first save of the match on sixty-three minutes, Maidstone equalised from the resulting corner. It wasn’t a great corner, but somehow the ball found itself at the feet of Maidstone substitute Akfori who gleefully smashed the ball home.
From kick off, Concord carelessly lost possession of the ball, and Akfori was away down the right hand side…he whipped in a cross, which was deflected into the path of James Rogers, who sweetly found the far corner with a great left footed finish. It was a cracking finish.
Concord were spooked by what had happened in that minute and took their time to regain their composure. The game drifted for fifteen minutes, but Concord gained a second wind and pressed again. Greenhalgh had a shot well saved on eighty-0ne minutes. Concord started throwing caution to the wind and centre back Adam Bailey-Dennis was put up front. From a free kick on eighty-six minutes the ball fell to Bailey-Dennis he took a touch and was then strongly challenged…Concord appealed, but the referee who had an excellent game, turned down the player’s requests. You’ve seen them given, but for Concord it sadly wasn’t to be.
Into injury time and Concord pressed and pressed inside the Maidstone penalty, but they just could not create a decent chance to level the game. The referee blew his whistle to finish this pulsating clash, and the lads knew that a mad minute had cost them the game.
Concord Rangers 1 Maidstone 2
McNamara, Hammond, Stephen, King, Bailey-Dennis; White, Dowie, Gardner (sub 75mins Bantick), Taaffe; Greenhalgh, Cawley
Subs Not Used – Fox, Lee, Brayley, Cornhill
Match Report – Chris Clark