Congratulations to Concord Rangers U11 Blue for reaching the Final of the Southend and District Junior Sunday League Thames Medal competition.

Concord U11 Blues have made it to the final of the Southend and District Junior Sunday League Thames Medal competition after beating Southend Manor Blue 5-0 in their semi-final game on Sunday at Castle View. Although the score line looks convincing it does not tell the whole story. Concord started well in the first half by playing quick tempo and pressing football and not allowing Southend Manor to settle into their normal game. Jack Shaw was given the roll to man mark their centre forward and deny them any outlet, which he successfully did with great results, despite an injury sustained to his fingers on his left hand. 

With Concord controlling the centre of the park it was only a matter of time before a chance came their way.

With a Southend Manor attack coming to nothing the ball ended up in Rio Little’s hands and after gathering his thoughts he launched a drop kick up field. Paul Appleton capitalised on the awkward bounce, collected the ball and ran at the Southend keeper and calmly slotted the ball into the right hand side of the net. 1-0 Concord with just over 10 minutes gone.


Within 5 minutes Concord had another opportunity with Brandon Lee being fouled 20 yards out. Jed Thomas stepped up and curled the free kick just over the bar.


With both sides trying to gain further advantage the game moved towards half time, Southend Manor had a corner, which only due to some agile keeping from Rio, tipping over, kept the score at 1-0 and with no other significant action the half time whistle blew.


The second half started in a similar way to the first with Concord playing quick tempo, pressing football, and the second goal coming in a similar vein to the first. A long clearance from Rio, was headed, unfortunately, the wrong way by the Southend Manor defence and was seized upon by Brandon, who calmly slotted past the keeper. 2-0 to Concord, with 3 minutes of the second half played.


Within minutes another Jed free kick in a similar area and distance to that of the first half and unfortunately just a little too high, but a sign of Concord’s dominance starting to show through.


Within a couple of minutes it really should have been 3-0 a quick ball over the top of the defence from Harlee Butler saw Paul, again beat the offside trap and with only the goal at his mercy Paul tried to curl it around the keeper, only for the keeper to move sharply to his left and manage to get enough of his left hand on it to push it wide for a corner.


At this stage it was all Concord, however from the resulting corner, Concord seemed to be caught ball watching, and Southend broke clear and were awarded a foul just on the left hand side of the box. A fine delivery of the free kick had Rio backtracking quickly to his left just as the ball dipped and lands on the roof of the net. Rio himself ends up hitting his head and knee on the post and base of the goal. After already claiming two assists in the game and having a very impressive game until this point, Rio, after treatment, insisted that he was well enough to continue for the last 20 minutes and bravely carried on, although slightly impeded by the knock to his right knee.


After some more slick passing down the left hand side of the pitch which resulted in another ball played at pace across the penalty area. This resulted in a mix up defensively and Paul capitalised on this error and managed to get his shot away, which was only parried by the keeper and Paul, being quickest to react, followed up his initial shot and converted, 3-0 Concord.  


With Concord now in total control and playing some of their best football of the season, they showed no sign of relaxing and sitting back on their 3-0 lead. They continued to challenge for every ball and continued to press Southend further into their own half at every opportunity. With 10 minutes to go the ball broke in midfield to Jed, who smartly looked up and slipped a perfect diagonal ball through to Paul who sprung the offside trap yet again, learning from his earlier errors and calmly slotted the ball into the right hand side, side netting. 4-0 Concord and a trip to the final beckoning.


Yet again Concord failed to sit back on their lead and with even more confidence they continued to press forward. The fifth and final goal again all stemmed from a play down the left hand side. Chris Scammell crossed from left, Southend defence headed it clear, only as far as Chris, he gratefully collected the ball, turned the defender, and fired a cross along the edge of the penalty area, Jed stepped over the cross, taking two defenders out of the game to allow Paul the space and time to collect and score his 4th and Concords 5th.


Concord continued to play to the same level and continued to press, despite some robust tackling from Southend in the final 5 minutes, but with no other opportunities, the referee called an end to the game which was Concord triumph 5-0 and deservedly earn their place in the final at 4pm on May 8th at Great Wakering Football Club.


Terry Griffin, the manager commented after the game that “I’d like to congratulate the boys on their fantastic performance today, each and every boy in our team have made me so proud”


The starting line up today was Rio Little (GK), Chris Scammell, Harvey Atkinson, Jack Shaw, Jamie McCormack, Billy Shead, Jed Thomas, Paul Appleton, Brandon Lee.

Substitutes Harley Butler, Blake Eyre, Matt Drummond.