The Beachboys are still searching for their first home league goal of the season, but it wasn’t for the want of trying tonight at the Aspect Arena writes Chris Clark.
The lads were desperate to bounce back from a disappointing performance on Saturday, and they came roaring out of the traps against Bishop’s Stortford, after two minutes the pattern of the game was set as Alex Akrofi buzzed down the right whipped in a cross which was headed over the bar by Dumebi Dumaka.
After ten minutes a free kick was put into the Stortford box, and it fell to the captain James White who side-footed it towards goal, was it going in…Whitey thought so, but a desperate block by a Stortford defender cleared away the danger.
Concord were set up in a 3/5/2 formation and they were getting good width from the wing backs, Girdlestone and Onyemah. In fact the left and right centre backs White and Lampe were also switching play very well. Concord were using the full width of the pitch and the visitors were battling to contend with Concord’s impressive effort.
Dumaka was brought down on the edge of the box on the half hour, it was a great chance to test Joe Wright in the Stortford goal. Up stepped Whitey, who fancies himself as a bit of a Christian Eriksen in these situations…however his free kick was not up to Eriksen’s level as Wright dived to his right to save.
Concord were definitely pressing though, and some smart build up play involving Adam Topley and Jay Dowie found the on-rushing Sam Collins in space 20 yards out…Sammy let fly and it screamed just over the bar.
The Beachboys were banging on the Stortford door, but they just could not find that vital break through. The visitors had not threatened the Concord goal in the 1st half, it had been an impressive opening 45 minutes from Concord, but they just could not create that elusive golden chance.
Concord Rangers 0 Bishop’s Stortford 0
Into the 2nd half, and Concord again were quickest out of the blocks. On the front foot pressurising the opposition. This spirited approach was certainly rallying the faithful behind the goal. Fifty-one minutes in and Alex Akfori sped his way into the Bishop’s box, but his shot was blocked. A few minutes later and another Akrofi shot was saved low down by Joe Wright. It was one-way traffic.
On the hour, a delightful flick by Sam Collins found Mark Onyemah free in space on the left hand side, but Onyemah’s shot was too close to Joe Wright, who again saved well. Concord kept on pressing and a few minutes later, Dumaka glanced on a long throw from Rob Girdlestone and with Wright beaten for once in the Stortford goal…it crashed against the bar and away from danger.
Concord made changes with twenty minutes to go,as captain James White left the field with a knock. Joao Carlos replaced him, and Concord switched to a 4/4/2 with Carlos playing on the left wing. Joao had an immediate impact as he linked up with fellow sub Steve Cawley to create a shooting opportunity for Jay Dowie…Jay latching onto the ball from the edge of the box…placed his shot wide of the post.
Concord where rampant at this stage, surely the goal would come. The best chance of the game came on 74 minutes. Adam Topley who had played superbly all night, had it. The ball was worked to Adam sixteen yards from goal with just Joe Wright to beat. Adam tried to aim his shot into the bottom right hand corner, but he dragged his shot just wide. Topley’s all round performance on the night deserved that goal. His awareness on the ball, and his first touch at times was top class.
The Beachboys were created chances from set plays and open play, on 77 minutes Jack Lampe headed a corner over from 10 yards and a minute later Jay Dowie curled a shot from the edge of the box over the bar.
Dumaka and Cawley were beginning to show good signs of a partnership, and after some good link up play on 82 minutes, Dumaka was brought down say twenty five yards from goal. Steve Cawley lined the shot…a rasper…it was parried by Wright…there was Dumaka to slide it home, but Wright was exceptional to block.
Concord kept on pressing, but they just could not create any chance, and as we entered added time…Bishop’s Stortford woke up. They rather fortunately won a corner in the ninety second minute, and the ball was whipped in and….chaos! Bishop’s couldn’t shot…Concord couldn’t clear…all hell was breaking loose. Thankfully for Concord the ball was diverted over the bar eventually, and from the subsequent corner Ben McNamara safely gathered.
The final whistle blew and it just one of those nights for Concord. You could not fault the player’s effort at all. All it needed was just one goal. One bloody goal.
Concord Rangers 0
Bishop’s Stortford 0
Team – McNamara, Lampe,Ekpiteta,White (c) (sub 71 Carlos); Girdlestone, Dowie, Collins, Onyemah, Topley; Akrofi (sub 60 Cawley), Dumaka
Subs Not Used: Laucys, Hodd