Tuesday saw Concord Rangers take on Aveley FC in the Thameside Trophy at the Aspect Arena. Due to restrictions within the regulations, only six senior players were allowed to play, including Ben Search, who made his debut for the Beach Boys in the Weymouth game at the weekend. Concord, due to not having an U/23s squad, used players from the U/18s. The young side along with a few senior players, including Danny Green, put in a great performance to beat Aveley on penalties, 4-2.

Danny Scopes was very happy with the second half performance, which saw his young side score at both the start and at the end of the 45 minutes. Many players made their competitive debuts including midfielder and defender Billy Boag and Archie McFadden, respectively. Scopes was pleased with his Team selection as well as their performance in the win: “I think we got the mixture right. It was a bit sloppy in the first half, but I thought in the second half the boys had a right go, and we deserved the win.”

The first half ended 1-0 to the travelling side after a slow start to the game: “We gave Aveley too much respect, some of the boys were a bit nervous, maybe some of the senior players not playing to the percentage we needed”, said Scopes. Though, in the difficult conditions, Concord came out a different side. Within 90 seconds of the second half, the Beach Boys equalised thanks to a great finish from Danny Green.  Scopes went on to say, “I thought we changed it around in the second half, we got a bit on top against the wind and the rain, we played with a much better tempo.”

Despite the good play from Concord, Aveley managed to find another goal to put the Millers ahead once again. Thankfully, Sheriff came to the rescue in the closing stages, taking the ball around the keeper cool and collectively to equalise. Scopes stated “It was a sloppy goal to concede to go 2-1 down, but we showed good desire and effort to go and get the goal back for the draw.”

“They might not all be used this season (the youth players), but the thing about this Competition is the fact that, if they win the game, they get to go through and showcase what they’ve got in the next round. They are massive for this Football Club. Some of these boys have been at the club for 4 or 5 years and it shows in their performances. That’s what we need and what the club needs.”

Due to no game being played on the weekend, Danny Scopes and his Team have the chance to re-group and prepare for their next game against Chippenham on the 12th October. “I think the break has come at a good time for us. We can hit the reset button and shuffle the team around a bit, to go back over the basics we need to work on. I don’t think we’ve been playing bad; we’re just collecting errors that lose us games. This break will hopefully fire us up for the next league game.”

Scopes finished by saying: “We have two home games in October and it is obviously important that we need to make the ground a fortress. We need to try and win our home games against Chippenham and Hungerford, who are difficult teams to face, both hungry and ready to battle. If we manage to get the points from the home games, it almost gives us a free hit with the away game to see what we can get from there, especially with a busy November coming up.”

Tuesday night also saw Jack Cawley return after serving a 3-game suspension from the straight red card he picked up in the game at Braintree, last month. “I was disappointed for Jack as well as disappointed in him. You can’t tackle like that anymore, whether you got the ball or not, it was a little bit reckless. We’ve missed him, both his quality on the ball and his leadership skills.” Cawley captained the side against Aveley, playing the full 90 minutes, plus scoring his penalty to help Concord win the tie. “This game was perfect for his return and it shows what he can offer. There is more to come from here, were almost at a full squad what is great.”

A stand out player in the victory was right-back, Archie McFadden. The defender changed the game coming on, off the bench. “I’ve known Archie for a long time, I know all his attributes and what he’s got. What he showed tonight is what he’s all about. He’s athletic, gets forward and can tackle and cross. He’s got all round play.”

Scopes was also impressed in other young players. “I thought Search was really good in the middle of midfield, as well as Billy Boag and James Sweetman in the first half, once they got to grip who they were up against, they did well. Plus, all the boys who came on. They all had an impact on the game. You can see the hunger and desire from the boys to get back from 2-1 down. They had great mentality and that’s what we need.”