Dan Scopes: “Football kicks you in the teeth when you don’t take your chances.”

There was disappointment for the Team on Saturday as a dubious penalty was the difference between Concord and Chippenham, resulting in a defeat for the Beach Boys. In a game that was one-sided, Concord’s attacking threat going forward looked promising, but many saves from Chippenham’s keeper prevented Concord taking the lead and the 3 points.

An impressive second-half performance was not enough for Dan Scopes and his Team to win, but the Manager was happy with the change in performance, “If we put the result to the side first, and we look at our last few performances, Weymouth, Dartford, Margate, the performance today was much better. We didn’t make any fundamental errors; we kept our shape much better. Performance-wise that was a step in the right direction and that’s what I’ve been asking for from the lads.” There were other areas where Scopes was happy, “With the ball, we were much sharper, as well as looking attractive on the eye going forward.

We played good football. Obviously, it’s hard to take when you put the effort in and you lose 1-0.”

The second-half saw chance after chance for Concord, unlike Chippenham. Frustration was shown by the crowd and players, resulting in a booking for dissent. The downside of games you dominate with 9 or 10 good chances, the keeper may make a couple of good saves, but if you don’t score, you get punished with a goal against the run of play. Scopes quoted, “Football kicks you in the teeth when you don’t take your chances.”

Saturday also saw two young players, Tom Clifford and Henry Woods, make their debuts after joining from Southend United and Gillingham respectively, on one-month loans. Playing the full 90 minutes, both showed strong performances, pleasing Scopes especially as it’s their first taste of first Team football. “It’s never easy coming in from whatever level you’re from. They’ve listened to us all week for what we need them to do. I thought they were excellent in their performances.

20-year-old Clifford plays football for Southend U/23s. The defender showed great attributes at the ASPECT Arena. Scopes commented “I thought Clifford was good on the ball, showed good technique, good ability and didn’t look troubled against a couple of good wingers. He was unlucky with the penalty and he’ll be disappointed with that.

Central midfielder Woods, also impressed the Management Team against Chippenham, creating a few chances, whilst also covering every inch of grass. “Woods was unlucky not to get a goal. He got in good areas and turned the ball over really well.

Saturday also marked the return of midfielder Lee Minshull. After suffering a toe injury, which required surgery, the 33-year-old helped Scopes as part of his Management Team this season. A long recovery has the leader ready to return to action, playing 10 minutes at the weekend. “It’s good to know we have him back. We have a young squad and to have Lee’s experience along with Green’s, it’s vital. He’ll be brilliant, he’s great in the changing room and he’ll be good on the pitch too.

Jack Cawley also returned to the squad, after serving a three-game ban for a straight red in the Braintree 2-2 draw last month. “We’ve missed him in the last few games and he was good against Chippenham. He’s a leader and a winner. He did excellent marshalling the defence today and limited the opposition to their chances.”

This weekend, football returns to the ASPECT Arena. Concord face a Hungerford side who have lost 4 of their last 5 games. Dan Scopes said, “I think we can bottle the result last weekend up as a frustration and we can explode that on Hungerford next week. There are no easy games in this league, no matter what position you are in, that showed today.

We have boys stepping up to this level and that will take time. We have to accept that whether it’s defensively or going forward. I’d be more disappointed if we were not creating chances, but it is frustrating as you can win those games by 3 or 4 goals.”