On a miserable day the Beachboys and Poole Town played out an epic encounter at The Aspect Arena writes Chris Clark.
Concord welcomed the visitors to the Island who had been on a good run of form in the Conference South, but it was the Beachboys who started the brighter of the two sides in steady rain. In fact it had rained all day, which made for a fast paced game and plenty of sliding challenges. For the brave souls who suffered the weather they were treated to a magnificent game of football, actually hats off to the Poole Town fans who had travelled all this way to follow their side.
Concord were on the front foot in the first half and the pace of Jordan Chiedozie was causing the Poole centre backs plenty of problems, Chiedozie was backed up by Steve Cawley, Sam Collins and Ben Wyatt who were providing good support. The opening twenty minutes were not full of gilt-edged chances, but plenty of good play from both sides. You could see why the visitors had only lost three games all this season, they were tough, solid and resolute.
But that all changed on twenty-one minutes, Concord broke. Steve Cawley dinked the ball through to Chiedozie. He had a lot to do twenty-five yards out from goal. However Jordan dropped his shoulder, sold the centre back a dummy on his right hand side, cut in on his left foot and tucked the ball home in the bottom corner with his left. It was a delightful goal.
The game was being played at break-neck pace and both defences had to be alert for any ball down the channels, as the forwards were latching onto them and causing problems. Sam Surridge for Poole was constantly probing and keeping Marvin Ekpiteta and James White on their toes.
Concord doubled their lead on thirty-three minutes, when Ben Wyatt strode through the centre of the pitch, showing great pace and determination…he fed Chiedozie…this time on the left hand side of the penalty area. Chiedozie eased past the centre back and slide home his second goal of the game, this time with his right foot. Concord were two up and flying.
In fact just before the break, Concord should have made it three-nil. Jay Dowie who was a bundle of energy all game, latched onto a through-ball and as Hutchings the Poole keeper came out of the box…they met in a meaty 50/50 challenge. As the ball broke to Jay, a Poole defender fouled him. The ball broke to Steve Cawley who had an open goal, albeit from thirty yards but he screwed his shot wide. Referee Paul Kelly however saved Cawley’s blushes by blowing up for a foul on Dowie. The resulting free kick however was not a repeat of Sam Collins screamer against Chelmsford. It was wild from Collins and it flew wide. This though was the only error from Collins who had an excellent game once again at the tip of the diamond in Concord’s midfield.
Concord Rangers 2
Poole Town 0
The second half started as the rain continued to pour down. Now 2-o is a funny lead, as your unsure whether to push on for more goals, or hold what you have. Concord’s second half performance didn’t help as it was punctuated with injuries and sickness to players. Concord had to make a change after fifty-one minutes as centre midfielder Jay Dowie had to be substituted. Concord would miss his energy in the middle of the park as the half wore on. Poole reduced the arrears two minutes later. The visitors won a free kick twenty yards out on the right hand side. Left back Will Spetch stepped up and curled a free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner. Jon Miles could only stand and watch as the ball rippled the net. It was a brilliant free kick. It was 2-1 and very much game on.
Poole galvanised by the goal continued to press, and Concord’s defence was on high alert. In fact when clearing a dangerous situation Concord captain James White got a knock and had to replace on sixty-two minutes. Steve King replaced White in the centre of the Concord defence. Poole though had the confidence from their goal earlier in the half and were causing allsorts of problems when they attacked. Concord could not just get a foot-hold in the game.
Poole equalised on seventy-six minutes, when danger-man Sam Surridge headed home a cross from the right hand side. Again Miles had no chance in the Concord goal. Poole were in the ascendancy and looking for that winner. With Marvin Brooks growing an increasing factor in the game, it looked like the visitors would nick a decisive fifth goal and take all three points home with them.
However you should never, never write off Concord’s fighting spirit. Into added time, and Tony Stokes who had replaced Steve Cawley earlier in the half…wriggled in the penalty box…could he get a shot off? You bet he could, his left/right footed shot (I couldn’t tell you, I lost it briefly) flew past Hutchings in the Poole goal, and Concord had won the game. Stokes threw his shirt off and celebrated with the Concord fans behind the goal. It was a moment of pure ecstasy. It’s what football is all about. It’s why we love it.
As soon as Poole Town kicked off referee Paul Kelly blew his whistle for full time. What a game of football that was. Well played both teams, but it’s Concord who for once are on the right side of a late goal, who take all three points from this five goal thriller.
Concord Rangers 3 (Chiedozie 21,33 Stokes 93)
Poole Town 2 (Spetch 53, Surridge 76)
Team – Miles, Girdlestone, Brown, White (c) (sub King 62mins), Ekpiteta; Dowie (sub Topley 51mins), Laucys, Wyatt, Collins; Cawley (sub Stokes 56mins), Chiedozie
Subs Not Used – Gordon, Young(gk)