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Beachboys 2013 Review Part 2

Wednesday 3rd July, a date that will live long in the history of Concord Rangers, was the day when the promotion to the Skrill South really hit home. The fixtures for the 2013/14 season were released, and seeing names like Dover Athletic, Sutton United and Ebbsfleet United alongside little old Concord Rangers made everyone involved with the club sit up and take note! To paraphrase Dorothy, we’re not in the Ryman any more! The friendlies through July were all won in convincing fashion by the Beachboys, only letting in 3 goals and scoring 28 during the 6 fixtures. One of which included a 4-0 demolition of neighbours Canvey Island in a game raising money for the two clubs chosen charities. The 2 friendly fixtures in August though were a different story, as losses to Billericay and Chesham not only hit the preparation for the league, but the Billericay game also saw captain & striker Tony Stokes suffer a knee injury which took him out of action for 3 months. In reaction to the injury …

Beachboys 2013 Review Part 1

With another year coming to an end, it’s that time once more to look back & reflect on the last 12 months, and look forward to what lies ahead. 6 months first, and the following 6 months will come at a later date! Concord Rangers began 2013 with a 2-0 away victory at Cray Wanderers, but the main story of the month was that the weather, and mainly snow, was playing havoc with fixtures. A Ryman League cup tie vs Wroxham was put back two weeks on the bounce due to snow before finally being played on the 29th January. Concord won that fixture 2-0 as the mist descended on Thames Road, almost leading to a 3rd postponement! A comeback 2-1 league victory over Margate at home on the 5th January had extra significance for the Beachboys faithful, as on the same day Canvey lost a 4-1 lead & lost 5-4 to league leaders Whitehawk. Other highlights of January were an Essex Senior Cup victory over Chelmsford City on penalties (déjà vu this season), Danny Cowley earning league Manager of the M…

A Rivalry Renewed!

Over the past three seasons both Concord Rangers and Canvey Island have plied their trade in the Ryman Premier Division, which has led to 6 interesting encounters between the two sides. However this season, with the Beachboys being promoted to the Skrill South, a charity friendly was organised prior to the season to fill the derby day void. As far as the clubs were concerned, that would be it for the season, the only meeting between the two Island based teams.Then on Thursday 5th December, the draw for the Essex Senior Cup Quarter Finals threw up the fixture that would provide probably the most important chapter in the Concord/Canvey history! Concord Rangers were drawn at home to Canvey Island FC, made even more interesting by the fact that it was Canvey gaffer & former Concord striker Danny Heale who made the draw for the home side! The game is to take place on Tuesday 17th December down Thames Road, and it promises to be an eventful night, with both sides looking to progress in …

A Loan Between Friends?

Some surprising news was announced yesterday by Concord Rangers, striker & club captain Tony Stokes is to go on a 5 game loan spell to Canvey Island FC. I’ll let you digest that for a moment before I continue! Canvey Island is a small place with two successful non-league football teams, a massive achievement in itself. With the recent rise of Concord Rangers through the non league ranks the rivalry between them & CIFC has intensified. The results in the recent encounters between the two clubs have been in the Beachboys favour on all but one occasion, players (& coaches) have made the small jump across the island, more recently in the direction of Concord, and the fact that the Beachboys ply their trade in a division higher than Canvey all adds fuel to the fire. You only have to have a glancing look at Twitter to see the banter that flies between fans of the two sides, always increased when one side is victorious & the other is subject to defeat. I will openly admit tha…

Trophy Trials

The FA Cup is the most revered & traditional cup competition in football, it’s the one all teams want to play in & win. As we know this year Concord Rangers fell agonisingly short of making the first round when they lost 3-0 to Barnet, FA Cup dreams then took a back seat until next season.However, the FA Cup is not the only competition organised by the FA for teams such as ours in the Skrill Conference South. There’s also the FA Challenge Trophy, or FA Trophy as it is more commonly known. The competition is open to teams in steps 1 to 4 of the Non League Pyramid, with higher teams entering in the latter stages. The competition begins with the Preliminary Round, 64 regionalised ties between 128 teams from the Ryman Division 1 North & South, Evo Stick 1st Division North & South, and the Calor Gas Division 1 Central & South West.80 more teams enter the competition in the 1st Qualifying Round, those being the clubs in the Ryman, Calor Gas & Evo Stick Premier Divisi…

An FA Cup Experience to Remember!

With a 3-0 defeat away to Barnet this past Saturday, Concord Rangers dreams of making the first round of the FA Cup ended for another season. The Beachboys went to The Hive ready to play, and eager to cause an upset over the team managed by Dutch footballing legend Edgar Davids, and who were as recently as May this year plying their trade in League 2. Sadly it was not to be, as the former league side showed that they were the better side on the day. Barnet moved the ball around exceptionally well, and we seemed to give them a bit too much space & respect at times through the game, which they took advantage of with their first two goals. The Beachboys had chances of their own, albeit fairly few. Steve King came away from the day with something more than expected, a swollen left eye, a large cut above the said eye, and a number of stitches to go with it! To the Concord fans in attendance it looked blatant, but the referee appeared to miss it completely. It wasn’t the only decisi…

Upsetting The Odds

Upsetting the odds, it’s a phrase we’re all familiar with, whether it be to do with sport or achieving something on a personal level, it gives the person/people involved a fantastic feeling of success and that the effort that’s been put in has been worth every ounce of energy. The thing is, when the odds are against you, it tends to have originated from someone or something claiming the task is not possible, that it cannot be achieved by your or your team. There are those out there with the natural drive to succeed, however personally I think we need to have the odds against us sometimes, we need someone to challenge us and say something cannot be done, which lights a fire in us to succeed, prove them wrong and upset the odds.The reason I am writing about this is down to three of the sports teams I follow, and how their seasons have begun. I’ll start with Non League football, which of course means the Beachboys Concord Rangers. Last season was full of instances where Concord were the …

There's Still Magic In The FA Cup!

It’s no secret that the lads at Concord Rangers have had a spectacular rise over the past few years, improving season by season, and this was punctuated by the club securing promotion to the Skrill Conference South this past summer. League success is always important, but of course the various cup competitions also play a big part in the success of a side. For example last season Concord were able to win the Ryman League Cup in a thrilling final against Dulwich Hamlet. However when it comes to FA Cup progression, this has eluded the Beachboys over the years, and this season a focus of the club is to go further than they have previously done and make the first round proper. In previous years Concord Rangers have been entered into the competition at the first of four qualifying rounds, with the furthest they’ve progressed being the 3rd qualifying round. This season though, we entered the competition one round later, and in turn leaving us with one less game to get through in order to …

A Scottish Tale

It's been over 10 years since I last visited Scotland to see my family up there, so with life moving in the right direction, work going well & having settled into the new flat, I thought it was about time I got my backside into gear! I went up last Tuesday, had about an 11 hour trip there in total by train! Yes I know it's quicker to go by plane, but given that I work on the railway the fares are cheaper and therefore more appealing, even with a long old journey! After leaving Basildon at 08:30, I arrived in Elgin not long after 19:00, and got to my Aunts place in Lossiemouth a little after 19:30. The journey was made that much more bearable by the new Reacher novel from Lee Child entitled "Never Go Back". Funny thing about that is I started the book just as the train left London, and had the whole thing finished shortly after leaving Aberdeen! The first 3 nights of the trip I spent in Lossiemouth with my aunt, and it was good to catch up and relax! Over the da…

5 Games In!

We’re 5 games into the Skrill South season, and I’ll be totally honest in saying I had no idea as to where Concord Rangers would be sitting at this early point of the season. Obviously I hoped we would be doing well, but I was under no illusions as to how difficult the Skrill Conference South would be for the club. I’m pleased to say though that the Beachboys have made a positive start to the season, and given more than a good account of themselves in some difficult games already. Opening weekend was a great occasion & experience for everybody involved with Concord Rangers as they made their debut in the Skrill Conference South at home to Basingstoke. The visitors were a good side, as all opponents are certain to be at this level, and they provided a very entertaining game on the day. John Easterford made his mark on the Beachboys history books by scoring Concord Rangers first goal at Conference South level, however there wasn’t too much celebration as a late Basingstoke goal en…

Preseason Is Over, Now The Real Action Begins!

The preseason preparations are finally over, the friendlies have been played and squads rotated & tested. Now it’s time for the main show to get under way after what has seemed like an age of a summer!The preseason has been an eventful one for the Beachboys, with plenty of goals being scored and up until the final two games very few being let in. It’s also hit the squad hard with a couple of significant injuries that have had to be addressed. July saw the Beachboys involved in 6 preseason matches, and all of which saw Concord Rangers victorious. First up were a Stevenage Borough XI who were overturned by a 6 goals to 1 margin, which included goals from Tony Stokes, Paul Goodacre and Jason Hallett. Next up was a charity encounter away to Canvey Island, where the money raised on the night would be split between the Indee Rose Trust and the Danny Green Fund, the two clubs chosen charities. Although this was a friendly, there was still bragging rights at stake in what will be the only…

Expecting Too Much?

The season is nearly upon us, just over a week until the Skrill Conference South (and North) kick off and get under way. 44 teams all with their own aims and ambitions for the season, whether that is to simply stay in the league they're in, to have a decent cup run, or to achieve promotion to the next level. Then of course there's the fans, we have our own hopes & dreams for the coming season, some realistic, some clearly not. I'll be completely honest, at the start of last season I never even dreamed that Concord Rangers would achieve all that they did. There were hopes of a decent cup run or two (considering there was 4 the club were a part of) and a top half table finish, but that was it. Obviously as the season progress the expectations and aspirations change with how the team progresses, but at this point before the season begins in earnest you have to be reasonable with what you hope for your team, right? Well a number of teams fans (especially at Ryman level aft…

Still Smiling!

Been very quiet on the old blogging front of late, I think that’s because of three main reasons. The first is that football season is still a few weeks away, the second is work being busier and more active, and third, and probably most importantly, I’m content and plodding along nicely through life.

Most of my blogs over the past year or so have revolved around football, many of which focusing on Concord Rangers and the journey I had the pleasure of being a part of last season. It has been easy to write/type about the experiences as part of the club, as it was something I felt passionate about. I have mentioned it before, but the way the club welcomes you in, the family atmosphere which resonates throughout the club, it’s not hard to see why it breeds such loyalty and emotion. This coming season Concord Rangers embark on their debut season in the “Skrill.com Conference South”, just 2 promotions away from league football. Some people say that the lads are punching above their weight at…

Training With The Beachboys

Concord Rangers have begun preseason training ready for their inaugural Conference South season, and with the new division comes a new training ground. Previously training on 3G in Brentwood, this season the Beachboys have moved to a facility in Basildon. This just happens to be about a 30 minute walk from my flat, so with that in mind I decided to take a stroll (smoking a rather nice Montecristo No. 4 whilst doing so) and take the chance to watch the team train.
First impressions of the facility was that it was very well maintained. The owners of the facility are Fords, and as they sponsored the Beachboys last season on the home kit, it’s easy to see where the connection came from. There’s a vast field to be used, with the standard boxes already marked out, & pitch markings to come within the next week. The majority of cones etc had already been set up by the time I arrived just after 19:00, with nearly everyone there ready to get involved with what Danny Cowley had lined up. Now…

Ins & Outs down Thames Road

With pre-season training starting this coming week, along with the fixtures due to be released Friday as well, I thought it best that we have a quick run down over the changes that have happened around Concord Rangers over the summer so far.
First the outgoings, the players/staff that have moved on. It was expected but Ben Greenhalgh, who played for the Beachboys for the second half of last season, has been signed by Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Premier League. Ben became an integral part of the Concord team and I’m sure I speak for every Beachboys fan when I wish Ben the best of luck north of the border! Also moving up levels is defender Matt Fry, who has been signed by Conference Premier side Dartford, and will be looking to play a big part in their push for promotion into the Football League.
We’ve also seen the departure of physiotherapist Steve Wright after one season with the club as he looks to move forward with his career. Steve, or simply “physio” as many knew…

No Football, More Blogs

The summer is tough to manage when there’s no major football tournament on, I know there’s tennis and cricket, and the Lions tour, but it’s just not the same! You end up with little to focus on when the weekends come around and try to find something to keep you occupied! Which in turn has led me to write another blog, I’ve always found it easier to write things down whatever the issue/subject, so the fact that “summer” is dragging gives me reason to waffle on.
Nearly 4 months now in the new flat for me and my brother, the 3 month inspection went well with no issues, plus a couple of bits we’ve found were taken care of shortly afterwards. It feels like we’ve been there an age already, everything under control (pretty much), tasks being done by the both of us, cooking being shared, bills etc. All that is great, and after the inspection/visit the property manager said she’d be happy for us to sign a renewal to the original 6 month contract. So once we organise a time and day, we’ll be in …

Who's With Us In The Conference South?

With Concord Rangers being promoted last season (still struggle to take that in sometimes!) and making their way into the Conference South, I thought it best to have a quick glance at some of the teams (and in turn lengthy journeys) we’ll have the pleasure of enjoying next season! Please note that mileages & journey times are estimates found online, and I am using the initial FA team placement to identify our opponents, the league set-up will be ratified at the AGM later next month.
I’ll start close to home, and the closest team are one that we’ve become accustomed to playing in cup competitions over the years, Chelmsford City. Just 20 minutes down the road, we’ve played & beaten them in the Isthmian Cup this past season and in the Essex Senior Cup the season before. Back in 2009 they beat us to win the Essex Senior Cup that season, so it’s been back and forth over the years. The Clarets are currently without a manager, but by the time the season begins they are bound to be bac…

Back To Basics

It’s been some time since I wrote a personal blog, strange considering I used to do them on a regular basis. But to be honest most of the time over the past year I’ve been writing about Concord Rangers and the hell of a season the club and everyone associated with it has had. It’s not been a bad thing, football helped keep my mind off issues at home with my mum & her partner, and stopped me writing pages of emotional issues!

So before I drift into that of which I have been avoiding, things are a lot steadier and more relaxed now in my personal life. Myself and my youngest brother Ben moved out of the “family” home (I say family like that because of the issues we had and that I continue to have) at the end of February, the date set by ourselves as a target after a conversation with our mum late last year. We’ve moved to a decent 2-bed flat in Basildon, right near the station & town centre so everything we need is right there on our doorstep. Admittedly took a while to settle i…

Beachboys In The Conference South!

Football has an amazing effect on your emotions & your physical state, and never is it more apparent then during the business end of the season!
So Monday 6th May started like any other day, except full of nerves and a distinct lack of sleep because of it. History had already been made by Concord Rangers this season with the highest league position and the Ryman League Cup victory, but today was a chance to add to that in spectacular fashion by winning promotion to the Conference South. Win or lose though, it had been a brilliantly successful season for the Beachboys and the lads could be proud of what they had already achieved.
The players coach left Thames Road just after 9:30, and so begun the long slog up the A12 towards the days opponents, Lowestoft Town, themselves a team who were making their 3rd consecutive appearance in the Ryman Playoff final. The mood was jovial to be fair, a bit of nervous excitement around, but that was eased midway through the journey as we descended…

The Season Draws To A Close

With just one game left in the regular season, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on how the whole thing has gone, and look towards our impending playoff journey.
Coming into our 3rd season in the Ryman Isthmian Premier League, the main priority was survival, it’s no secret that we as a club are punching above our weight, and the focus was keeping Concord Rangers established at this level. The months that have passed since the season kicked off back in August has seen the Beachboys do just that and much more. We’ve had heartache, joy, tragedy and more bumps & bruises that you could care to count.
The start of the season saw some poor results come our way, including 1-3, 1-4 & 0-3 defeats from 3 of our first 4 games in August. Only 2 league games in September thanks to cup commitments, both of which produced 2-2 draws. The cups however provided a bit of welcome relief after victories at home to Needham Market & away to Kettering Town. It was possibly the first gam…

Bit of a Mixed Bag

Lately the fortunes of Concord Rangers have been as mixed as the weather! Since the end of March it really has been a rollercoaster for the Beachboys & their fans, and it’s not hard to see why given the fact that the team are running on empty (as most teams with hectic schedules are right now).
The topsy turvy run of form began on the 28th March with a tough away trip to fellow playoff (and possibly title) hopefuls Wealdstone. An early sending off for Leon McKenzie made the job difficult for Concord on the night, however some exceptional defending and determined play kept the game scoreless through the first half. John Easterford rose above all others midway through the second half to give the Beachboys the lead they deserved after being the better side even with 10 men. However 2 quick goals in the last 5 minutes gave Wealdstone the victory. There were some ugly scenes at the final whistle from the Wealdstone “fans” invading the pitch, but highlighting the details would give them…

Cup Final Fever

I am writing this with a little over 24 hours to go until kickoff of the Ryman League Cup Final between Concord Rangers & Dulwich Hamlet, and I have to admit, I am buzzing!
I’ve seen finals before, watched West Ham in the FA Cup final against Liverpool, and went to Wembley to see West Ham beat Blackpool in the Championship Playoff Final last season, but this is different. I tend to approach watching Concord & watching West Ham as following two different sports, although it’s the same game, it’s a different atmosphere, different set up etc. And I know that tomorrow, when I’m on the coach down to Maidstone for the game, it’ll be an experience like no other.
Ok so I’ve followed the Beachboys for 3 years, I’m open when it comes to that, and I’ve not been here through the Essex Senior League days of yesteryear. But it shows the type of club this is, and the effect it has on people, that in these 3 years I’ve become a passionate supporter, a regular contributor to the club (by these…

The Road To Maidstone

With a less than a month until the Isthmian League Cup final, I thought it was worth looking at how both teams made it to the game which will be held at Maidstone FC on the 9th April. It’ll be a momentous occasion in itself as the Isthmian League Cup becomes the first major competition in the country to stage its showpiece cup final on an 3G surface, how that will effect the play of both sides remains to be seen!
Our opponents on that day will be Dulwich Hamlet of the Ryman League South Division, and they are no stranger to playing higher league opposition in this seasons cup competition. After a 2-1 away victory at Eastbourne Town in the 2nd round, and a 5-1 home victory against Herne Bay in round 3, “The Hamlet” hosted Ryman Premier League high-flyers Wealdstone. Dulwich were the better side throughout, and scored the only goal of the game 4 minutes into the second half. As seems to be the case in most games, the trailing team rallied in the closing stages, but the tie-saving goal ne…