It’s not all about the first team, with such success coming from the youth section it was only fitting to tell you about it!!!

I caught up with Chris Search, Manager of Concords Under 16s.

Last season was always one whereby we were preparing for a big push, the boys had a relatively strong campaign coming third in the league and coming runners up in the county cup final as under 15s, this gave us a good foundation to make the push we needed to have a successful under 16s campaign. We strengthened with the signing of a new goalkeeper Ross Barnes from Chelmsford City to add competition in that area along with a new central midfielder in Ashley Barnes from Hullbridge Sports. Coming in too was striker Brandon Ndokay and the return of a striker Michael Okofar. We also moved a couple of players into new roles most notably Matthew Bumpus from striker to central defender who has been a colossus at the back this season. Going into this season I knew I had the strongest squad I’ve ever had and the boys proved this by winning the treble!!!

The team has had a tremendous year winning the league by 13 points, scoring 57 goals and conceding 16 in 18 games. This was also the best goal difference for and against in the league with 8 clean sheets throughout the league campaign which was the foundation for the team’s success. The boys also won the League’s challenge cup on penalties after a nil nil draw with Stotfold and also winning the Litho midweek cup against Hornchurch with a great 2-1 victory having been 1 nil down at half time. This was a very pleasing result as the boys lost in the county cup to Hornchurch 3-1 also losing both the league encounters so it showed real character to be losing and battle back for the deserved victory. The group has been exceptional this year with the support of their parents/ guardians making sure players are available for matches and training making the job to manage the boys a lot easier.

Players

Ross Barnes, Ross has been a tremendous signing from Chelmsford City keeping 15 clean sheets in 29 games he’s brought an air of confidence to the back line.

Billy Harrison, Billy was signed mid-season from Brentwood Town and his flexibility to play in numerous positions has really helped the group. He’s been a solid addition to the team

Archie McFadden, Archie has been an ever-present this year and is probably the best right back/wing back in the league, superb energy and commitment, he always gives everything

Matthew Bumpus, Matthew has been converted from a striker to a central defender this season where he’s been inspirational at 6ft 3 his presence in the back line has contributed to the tremendous defensive record of the team. He also scored the winning penalty in the league cup final

Harrison Topliss, Harrison is our ball playing sweeper and team comedian, his character and temperament are top draw combined with his unbelievable ability on the ball means “H” can start a lot of our attacks due to his cool calm composure

James Sweetman, James I’ve managed/coached since he was 5. He’s been ever-present this season. James has been a linchpin of my teams over the years, hugely dependable and is very rarely phased. James has been a monster at the back this season

Ben Search 7, “Searchy” is the skipper of the side again an ever-present lad who leads by example. Always giving everything for the team and team mates. Does a lot of work in the engine room another one who’s been with me side since he was 5

Ben Baxter, Ben is another who’s been asked to play a slightly different role but has taken to it like a duck to water. Technically outstanding he’s added some real grit to his game. He’s also scored and assisted in some big games this season

Michael Okofar, “Big Mike” Michael came back midway through the season after a small absence due to his friends telling him he was a central defender! Luckily I know a bit more than these “friends” and he’s proved what a powerhouse as a striker he is scoring some important goals but also leading the line so well

Alex Hernandez, Alex has been nothing short of exceptional on the pitch this season. Scoring at least 1 goal in almost every single game this season, his goals have been invaluable. He’s also shown great maturity in the last months of the season

Alfie Larkin, Alfie has been excellent this season playing either as a defensive midfielder or towards the end of the season as a Centre back. Alfie will always give his all for the team, wins his battles and does the simple things so well

Ashley Blanchard, What a signing Ash has been, physically a beast with a left foot like a cannon. He has brought a new dimension to the midfield. Another one who will give everything for the team. A great signing.

Thomas Roser, Thomas has been superb for us this season, playing generally as a central midfielder but had an important spell during the season as a striker scoring some important goals, He is always composed on the ball.

Brandon Ndokay, Brandon was another signing from Hullbridge. Physically a specimen, he’s played a key role in getting the team to where they are, scoring some massive goals for the team this season in tight games

Adam Johnson, Adam was another new signing from Chelmsford City and has struggled with injury until the last few games of the season where he played an important role in some tight games. Generally, a defender he has also had a go up front in the midweek cup quarter-final

Thanks to Chris for his time and we look forward to seeing what they achieve next season.

From everyone at the club, Congratulations on the Treble!!!!