(Sutton United, 7th Feb 2015, Vanarama South)
Home at last! After what has seemed like an age (although it?s just been two weeks) the Beach Boys are back on home soil at the Aspect Arena.
Not much has happened though since we were last here beating (at the time) 3rd placed Whitehawk by 3 goals to nil. The Tuesday afterwards the boys and a small number of fans made the long journey down to the South coast to take on Havant & Waterlooville (who were 3rd in the league at the time). Last season on the same trip Concord were beaten by a single goal in dubious circumstances, so it was a fitting dose of football karma when this time round the scoreline was reversed.
Admittedly the pitch was horrendous, almost like quicksand in some places, and the groundsman was rolling it before the game and during half time, but that wasn?t the main story. It was all about the referee, who was one of those people who made sure the game was focused on him and him alone. A few soft bookings early on meant that he?d set his standard low, and had to maintain that throughout the 90 minutes. Of course a lack of consistency then through the rest of the game meant that both teams (and their fans) got incredibly frustrated with him, more so the hosts as two Hawks were sent off!
I can?t take anything away from the performance though, the Beach Boys were resolute in defence, and strong in midfield. The highlight though was an awesome goal from Tony Stokes with around 2 minutes gone. He knocked it past 2 defenders (whilst running uphill he?ll happily tell you) and calmly slotted the ball home before anyone had really got settled.
This past Saturday the weather struck, with our trip to Maidenhead United being called off that morning due to a frozen/waterlogged pitch. We have been pretty lucky until now with our games beating the weather, the only rearrangements really have been due to our various cup competition commitments.
Speaking of which, the draw was made the day after the Havant game for the Essex Senior Cup semi finals. Concord Rangers were the fourth and final name drawn, and we were handed an away tie to the winner of Redbridge vs AFC Hornchurch, which at the time hadn?t been played due to weather issues. The game took place this past Tuesday with the Urchins winning 3-0, therefore before the end of the month (date to be confirmed, see the website for details) Concord Rangers will look to continue their quest to retain the Essex Senior Cup by travelling to AFC Hornchurch.
Enjoy the game today, and we?ll do this all over again on Tuesday!