Concord Rangers vs Halesowen Town

FA Trophy Semi Final

Saturday 5th September 2020

On Saturday Concord Rangers welcomed Halesowen Town to the Aspect Arena for a historic semi-final match in the FA Trophy. Due to scheduling reasons and the current COVID-19 restrictions, a draw was made by the FA to determine which team would have the match at their home ground. Unfortunately, the match also had to be played behind closed doors which meant that fans had to watch via a livestream. Despite the strange circumstances, both teams provided an entertaining game to watch, with plenty of chances for either side.

The Beachboys starting XI included; Chris Haigh, Nathan Carlyle, Tosan Popo, Billy Roast, Aron Pollock, Tyrone Sterling, Lamar Reynolds, Sam Blackman, Alex Wall, James Blanchfield and Temi Babalola. The substitutes were; Danny Green, Odei Martin, Chris Millar, Alex Hernandez, Archie McFadden, Lee Minshull and George Alexander.

It was Concord who had the first chance of the game as Alex Wall was fouled just outside of the Halesowen penalty area. Tosan Popo was the man to send the ball into the box, but eventually it was cleared away by goalkeeper Brendan Bunn. In the 7th minute, Halesowen went on the attack, which saw Richard Gregory receive the ball, move away from his defender and shoot into the bottom right of the goal to put the away side ahead.

The goal appeared to be a slight turning point for the beachboys, who then went on to dominate the rest of the half. In the 12th minute a brilliant through-ball was sent to Alex Wall, who was caught in an offside position just outside of the penalty area. Lamar Reynolds also did well to drive down the left side of the pitch just minutes later, before crossing the ball into the box, but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

It was the 38th minute when Concord managed to level the score. The ball had been crossed into the Halesowen penalty area, and after some confusion, it was headed by Halesowen defender Robert Evans into the back of his team’s net.

HALF TIME: CONCORD RANGERS 1-1 HALESOWEN TOWN

The second half got off to a slightly slower start in comparison to the first, with both teams struggling to come close to goal with their chances. In the 60th minute the beachboys came incredibly close to equalising as Wall crossed the ball into the penalty area, it was met by Babalola whose headed effort went narrowly over the crossbar.

With only 10 minutes until the final whistle, a lofted through ball was sent into Alex Wall in the penalty area, with his first touch Wall was able to volley the ball over the head of the goalkeeper and straight into the back of the net – despite being held back by the defender.

The beachboys continued to attack, whilst also displaying a strong defensive line and preventing Halesowen from equalizing. In the 87th minute, George Alexander almost doubled Concord’s lead as he made a direct run into the box, but the Halesowen goalkeeper came out to claim the ball.

FULL TIME: CONCORD RANGERS 2-1 HALESOWEN TOWN

Despite finding themselves a goal down within the first 5 minutes, Concord put on an outstanding display in order to turn the game on its head. For the beachboys, this is certainly one of the biggest wins in the club’s history as it means that they are now through to the FA Trophy Final at the home of English football – Wembley Stadium. The final will take place on Sunday 27th September 2020, and the beachboys will face either Notts County or Harrogate Town.

Millie Hawkins