In bright October sunshine Concord Rangers entertained their high flying neighbours Chelmsford City in a local derby, and what followed was an all action Essex derby where no quarter was given or asked writes Chris Clark.
The Beachboys who were on the wrong side of a narrow defeat against Hemel Hempstead in midweek pressed from the start in front of a packed Aspect Arena. Immediately Steve Cawley and Jordan Chiedozie linked up well poising problems to the visitors three centre backs. Cawley and Chiedozie were finding space in the channels, and using it to good effect in the opening stages.
Concord opened the scoring after nine minutes, Chelmsford were attacking and threw a lot of men forward. Concord broke…Chiedozie picked the ball up in his own half, he ran forward causing the Chelmsford defence problems. Sam Collins was steaming up the left hand side begging to be played in…Chiedozie provided the perfect pass, Collins latched onto it and drilled his shot home from 16 yards past Fitzsimons. Concord had the perfect start to the derby.
Chelmsford were intent on providing plenty of long passes to their strike pair of Jeffers and Bricknell, it was agricultural at times, but it was proving effective, constantly turning the Beachboys defence. Chelmsford’s best chance of the opening stages came on seventeen minutes, when Wilmott crossed from the right and Jeffers glanced a header to the far corner…he turned away and celebrated, but Jon Miles making his Concord debut in goal, thrust out a left hand and deflected the ball onto the post and it was cleared away. It was an excellent save.
However Chelmsford were not to be denied, and on twenty minutes they equalised. Robbie Wilmott was a class apart at times, and he levelled the score at 1-1 when he drilled home from the edge of the box. As soon as it left his foot, it was in. It was a great goal.
Concord should have taken the lead on twenty-five minutes. A brilliant move down the right, resulted in Rob Girdlestone putting in a great cross for Sam Collins to side foot home. However the linesman had other ideas and ruled that Collins was offside. The move deserved a goal, and but for the linesman flag Concord would have had the lead.
The first half was end to end, but the visitors ended an engaging first half the stronger. The cross bar came to Concord’s aid on forty-three minutes, as again another cross into the Concord box caused problems. Billy Bricknell met the cross, and his header spanked the cross bar and was cleared away from danger.
The referee blew the whistle on a frantic fast paced first half, both sides were happy with their performance and the watching fans knew more was to come in the second half.
Concord Rangers 1 Chelmsford City 1
The second half got underway, and the visitors started the stronger. The ball was played into the box, and Billy Bricknell shielded the ball and backed into Marvin Ekpiteta, Ekpiteta lightly pulled at Bricknell’s shirt and the Chelmsford forward hit the deck…referee Ajibola pointed to the spot. It was a penalty, but it was very soft. Jeffers stepped up and despite Miles guessing the right way, the visitors had the lead on forty-nine minutes.
Concord probed to get an equaliser, but Chelmsford were resolute. Whilst the first half was an entertaining end-to-end affair, the second half was tight, with neither side backing down.
Chelmsford however had the lead and seemed determined to close down Concord at every opportunity. Whilst the visitors weren’t causing a threat to the Concord goal, neither were the Beachboys to the Chelmsford defence.
The second half rumbled on, you couldn’t fault the Beachboys for effort, but they just could not create any chances, let alone a half chance.
On seventy four minutes, Jordan Chiedozie was brought down twenty-five maybe thirty yards from goal. Was it a foul? Debatable. Sam Collins didn’t stand around wondering though. He thought sod this, I’m just going to hit it, and hit it he did! It flew past the startled Fitzsimons in the Chelmsford goal and Concord were level with fifteen minutes left to play.
Both sides pressed for the decisive winner, but chances were few and far between. As the game wore on the defences grew stronger. Concord had half an opportunity as Chiedozie ran thirty yards with the ball, but his final pass to Steve Cawley was poor, and the opportunity was missed.
As the game moved into injury time the visitors tried to breach the Concord defence, but the Beachboys remained solid and cleared any balls into the box with the minimum of fuss.
The referee blew up for full time and an entertaining local derby ended all square, and both sets of fans left the stadium knowing that was a fair result.
Concord Rangers 2 (Collins 9, 74)
Chelmsford City 2 (Wilmott 20, Jeffers (pen) 49)
Concord – Miles, Girdlestone, Brown, White (c), Ekpiteta; Norman, Laucys (Ighorae), Dowie, Collins; Cawley, Chiedozie