* Report supplied by Essex County FA
Concord Rangers 3-3 Colchester United (Concord won 4-2 on penalties)
HOLDERS Concord staged a resounding comeback to progress to the Fourth Round of the Essex Senior Cup as they knocked League One side Colchester United out for a second successive season.
At 3-1 behind with less than half an hour remaining, Concord showed the fighting spirit which epitomises their current set of players as two fine goals from skipper Tony Stokes hauled the Vanarama Conference South hosts level before triumphing 4-2 on penalties with Stokes, perhaps inevitably, scoring the winning kick.
Having lost only once since August, and buoyed by a first ever appearance in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup – they travel to League Two Mansfield Town on Saturday week – Concord may have been a little surprised to start on the back foot against a young Colchester side who played some fine football in the early stages.
Indeed, it was the professional side who drew first blood as they took a 12th-minute lead when Sam Szmodics pulled the ball back for Macauley Bonne to stab into the far corner. Marcus Bean could?ve doubled the visitors? lead as he turned and fired a 20-yard effort inches off-target but, on the 30-minute mark Concord levelled for the first time.
A swinging cross from Stokes saw James White?s looping effort at the back post beat goalkeeper Chris Lewington and drop into the opposite corner. However, two quick second-half strikes gave Colchester a two-goal cushion which they would have been keen to cling onto.
The U?s regained the lead on 57 minutes as Concord ?keeper Joe Wright misjudged Tyler Brampton?s deflected cross, which fell into the net via the top of the post. A third arrived four minutes later thanks to a tidy move which was finished off with Craig Eastmond teeing-up Szmodics, who side-footed into the bottom corner.
Concord?s reaction was immediate, Stokes pulling it back to 3-2 within two minutes thanks to a fine, dipping half-volley into the far corner. It was a goal which sparked the hosts back into life. Stokes saw another thumping effort well held by Lewington, but the former Dagenham custodian was helpless seven minutes from time as Stokes found enough space inside the area to curl into the far corner and bring his side back level again.
Rangers? tails were up though they squandered two excellent chances in stoppage time as Stokes brought a fine save from Lewington before substitute Steve Cawley nodded a right-flank cross inches over the top. They weren?t to be denied, though, as Szmodics saw his penalty saved by Wright before Jamie Harney blazed over for the visitors in the shootout. Concord were exemplary from the spot, with Stokes sealing his side?s place in Round Four.
Penalties: Colchester – Eastmond (scored, 1-0), Concord – Glozier (scored, 1-1), Colchester – Szmodics (saved, 1-1), Concord – Woodyard (scored, 1-2), Colchester – Harney (missed, 1-2), Concord – Cawley (scored, 1-3), Colchester – Bonne (scored, 2-3), Concord – Stokes (scored, 2-4).
Concord Rangers: Joe Wright, Cheye Alexander, Danny Glozier, Alex Woodyard, Steve King, Jack Lampe, Gary Ogilvie (Steve Cawley, 70), James White (Joe Gardner, 77), Lewis Taafe (Jordan Chiedozie, 68), Taylor Miles, Tony Stokes. Unused Substitutes: Jeremy Walker, Sam Collins.
Colchester United: Chris Lewington, Tyler Brampton, Ben Gordon, Jamie Harney, Kevin Lokko, Craig Eastmond, Sam Szmodics, Marcus Bean, Macauley Bonne, Dominic Vose, Dominic Smith. Unused Substitutes: Ron Carrock, Jack Curtis, Tom Lapslie, Byron Lawrence, Michael O?Donoghue.
Referee: Wade Norcott (Harlow).
Assistant Referees: Chris McGovern (Ingatestone) and Richard Carter (Romford).