(Wealdstone, 13th Sep 2014, Vanarama South)

Today our visitors are Wealdstone FC, a team we know fairly well! We?ve not seen them here at the Aspect Arena since 2012 but our most recent encounter was of course the playoff semi-final in which we won 2-1 and went on to secure promotion to the Conference South.

That final encounter was one that lives long in the memory for me, and I?m sure for everyone involved with Concord Rangers at the time, but it wasn?t just for the score line and what the result led to. A few weeks prior to the end of the season Concord Rangers had travelled to Wealdstone in the league, both teams in the playoff hunt and eager to score what would be a massive victory. I remember travelling up early after work, and meeting the usual travelling fans (committee mainly) in the ground. An early sending off for Leon McKenzie didn?t start the game too well, however what followed was a mixture of ups and downs that really set the tone for the following playoff encounter.

There was no denying Concord were the better team on the night, creating much more chances and looking the more dangerous from open play. However it was Wealdstone who won on the night and it was a footballing robbery. They played poor, didn?t match us at all, but the key point was they took the chances that were presented to them. The final score was 2-1 to the Stones, and Concord Rangers had every right to feel aggrieved with the result after how they?d performed. The situation wasn?t helped by the incidents after the game, with some fans invading the pitch and some confrontations being caused.

Afterwards gaffer Danny Cowley told the lads to put the result behind them, as if justice was to be served we?d come back here in the playoffs and win. Little did we know how right he would be on that night!

So the playoff encounter inevitably came around, and the teams squared off once again. I again had come straight from work, but had also brought along a friend for their first Concord Rangers game (it left an impression that?s for sure!). This time round, the situation was reversed in the respect that Wealdstone were the better side throughout the game. However much like the previous encounter, the opposition took the chances that were placed before them, and we stole a 2-1 victory. The rest of course is history, until now.

Last season whilst we were making our own history in what was the Skrill South, Wealdstone tore apart the Ryman Isthmian Premier Division and won promotion as champions. So here we both are, facing off once again as league foes. I?m sure it?ll be an entertaining encounter, and there?ll be a good crowd at this and the eventual return match later in the season. Personally I wish them luck for the rest of the season, just not when they?re playing us of course!

You Are My Concord!

Alan Jessup-Peacock