Concord v Weston Super Mare
An impressive start of the season, was marred by a serious injury to Sam Collins writes Chris Clark
Concord Rangers got their Vanarama National League South campaign underway in a sensational fashion! Tony Stokes with his back to goal, half volleyed in from 25 yards after 16 (Sixteen) seconds…yes 16 seconds!! “Pre-season I’ve been trying that shot,I thought I’d try it again. I couldn’t believe it when it went in. It’s the quickest goal I’ve ever scored.” Tony confirmed after the game.
After seven minutes, with the Weston Super Mare forward just caught offside, Sam Collins slide in for a challenge, an almighty crunch was heard across the stadium, and after 5minutes of attention, Sam was stretchered off and rushed to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Concord after the break stormed forward time after time, and Steve King missed a free header after 17mins. Kingy normally laps up chances like that, and the disappointment on Kingy’s face was all to see.
Tony Stokes was running the show up front at this time, and he tried to replicate his spectacular finish on 23mins, this time he struck the bar….Joe Gardner on the follow up, laced his shot against the bar as well…it was unbelievable.
Concord would not be denied, and they doubled their lead after 36mins, great work by the front pair Cawley and Stokes, led to Joe Gardner being put through, and he powered his shot past the keeper.
A minute later, and Stokes was in again, but this time a great save by Purcell denied them a 3rd. The lads were playing some great stuff and it was a relief to Weston Super Mare that the half time whistle went.
Half Time – Concord 2 Weston Super Mare 0
The whistle blew for the 2nd half and Concord started again on the front foot, great work by Steve Cawley, feed Ben Greenhalgh on the left hand side and his whipped in cross was bulleted in by the diving head of Max Cornhill. Concord on 49mins, led 3-0 and surely had the points in the bag.
In the afternoon sunshine, Concord continued to play an attractive brand of football, solid through the middle and real flair out wide, they were cutting the visitors open at will. On 62mins, Steve Cawley…Messi like weaved his way through the Weston Super Mare defence, beating 3 men, and was hauled down for an obvious penalty. Cawley dusted himself off and despatched the penalty. It was now 4-0! As easy as England were beating the Australian cricket team, Concord were handing Weston the same punishment.
Steve Cawley was substituted after 68mins, it had been a splendid display by the front man. He was replaced by Lewis Taaffe.
In a rare venture into the Concord box on 72mins, Weston Super Mare gained a penalty. An innocuous challenge by Conor Gough on Tristan Plummer, and the referee pointed to the spot. Plummer coolly side-footed the ball home, and Weston earned themselves a consolation goal.
As the game petered out, Concord were still capable of creating chances, it seemed at will. None were better when the ball fell in the box to Lewis Taaffe, who struck firmly from 10 yards, but the ball crashed against the bar. Unbelievably it was the third time that Concord had hit the bar in the game.
The referee blew his whistle and put Weston Super Mare out of their misery. Concord Rangers had dominated from the first whistle to the last, but the player’s minds will be on the injury sustained by Sam Collins. “All the players are gutted for him, he’s done all the hard work in pre-season, then that happens in the opening minutes, it’s devastating for him. However we couldn’t wish to a better start to the season result wise, and I’m determined to keep my goalscoring up” said Tony Stokes as the players enjoyed a particularly spicy after match meal.
Concord Rangers 4 (Stokes 16seconds, Gardner 36mins, Cornhill 49mins, Cawley (Pen) 62mins)
Weston Super Mare 1 (Plummer (Pen) 72mins)
Concord Line Up
Gough, Hammond (sub Doyle 85mins), Collins (sub Fox 7mins), King (capt), Lee, Gardner, White, Cornhill, Greenhalgh, Cawley (sub Taaffe 68mins), Stokes
Unused subs – Bantick, Brayley.