Concord Rangers vs Royston Town

Tuesday 3rd March 2020

On Tuesday evening, Concord Rangers welcomed Royston Town to the Aspect Arena for a history making match in the FA Trophy Quarter finals. An electric atmosphere provided by both sets of fans offered motivation for both teams in the tie which made for a great game.

Concord’s starting XI included; Haigh, Olufemi, Carlyle, Roast, Pollock, Cawley, High, Maloney, Elliot, Blanchfield and Nouble. The substitutes were; Green, Sheriff, Reynolds, O’Donoghue, Laurent, Hernandez and Marsh.

The beachboys started the game positively as Elliot found himself through on goal on two early occasions, the first of which was following a ball that was sent through by Maloney, however the linesman signalled for offside. A few minutes later, Elliot managed to get another shot away but his effort was saved by the Royston goalkeeper.

20 minutes in, Concord were given a free kick following a foul just outside of the penalty area, Cawley was the man to step up and take the kick, however his shot fell just wide of the right post. The following 15 minutes appeared to be quite quiet for both sides, however in the 35th minute the deadlock was broken as the ball was sent to Nouble on the edge of the area, whose shot deflected off of the centre back and went straight through to the back of the net.

Only one minute later, Royston were given the opportunity to equalise after a long ball was sent over through to the penalty area where Murray was taken down, the referee did not hesitate when awarding the penalty. The Royston attackers shot towards the bottom left was brilliantly saved by Haigh, before the Concord keeper was quick to get back up again and make another brilliant reflex save which stopped the opposition from equalizing.

Both teams had goalscoring opportunities towards the end of the half as a Royston midfielder won the ball in the centre of the pitch before driving towards the Concord goal, however, his shot was saved by Haigh. Just before halftime, the beachboys were given a free-kick 30 yards out from the goal, however Blanchfields ball into the area was not met by anyone.

Half Time: Concord Rangers 1-0 Royston Town

Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Royson leveled the score a long ball was received by Castiglione who then layed the ball off to the striker whose low driven shot was sent past Haigh and into the goal.

For a period of the half there was not much action from either side that really tested any of the goalkeepers, but towards the end the tempo greatly increased. Haigh was able to make another fantastic save in order to prevent Royston from taking the lead following an attack. 5 minutes later it was Concord who came close following a superb run from Olufemi, who received the ball in the beachboys’ half and drove almost the full length of the pitch before laying it off to Nouble, whose shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

Neither side were able to take the lead in the latter stage of the game, meaning that the fixture went to extra time.

Decarrey Sheriff was sent on for the additional 30 minutes of the game to replace Kit Elliot, and it was not long at all before he made a significant impact. Less than 5 minutes into extra time, Sheriff received a through ball and found himself through on goal, with great composure he managed to tap the ball past the Royston goalkeeper and through to the back of the net to put the beachboys in front once again.

The extra time period did not provide too many opportunities for either side other than the goal. The main focus for Concord was to maintain their lead and see the game through. Haigh made yet another great save late in the game following a Royston chance in order to keep the lead and prevent the game from going to penalties.

Full Time (AET): Concord Rangers 2-1 Royston Town

Following an extremely hard-fought battle for both teams, it was the beachboys who came out on top following Sheriff’s winning goal in extra time. The full-time whistle stimulated incredible reactions from the home fans, including a pitch invasion where the fans, coaching staff and players congregated in the centre of the pitch to celebrate. This evening will go down in Concord Rangers history as the beachboys make it one step closer to the big final at Wembley Stadium in May. Concord will now travel to Halesowen Town on the 21st March for the first leg of the semi finals, before hosting the second leg at the Aspect Arena on the 28th March.

Millie Hawkins