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 game n October which started to light a fire in the lads when in the league, as we grabbed a deserved (and to outsiders unexpected) 2-0 victory away to Margate. The cups also continued to provide excitement for the Beachboys, as they came back from 0-3 down to win 4-3 away to Dagenham & Redbridge in the Essex Senior Cup.
An unbeaten November highlighted the corner that had been turned by the lads, winning 4 league games, drawing 1, and winning cup games against Takeley and Redbridge (which Jason Hallett score 7 & 6 goals respectively). A total of 34 goals were scored by the Beachboys this month, highlighting the strength of not just the strikers (Stokes, Hallett & Elmes) but the rest of the squad in that respect. December gave the club a smack in the mouth a week before Christmas as Lewes came to Thames Road & won 6-3, but the team were able to recover quickly and win the first of the two Island derbies 3-0. January became a month controlled by the weather, as did much of February, with snow & rain meaning many games were postponed and rescheduled! The good form continued though, and Concord were able to reach the semi-finals of both the Essex Senior Cup and the Isthmian League Cup. Although Grays sent the Beachboys out of the first, a victory over Hastings sent Concord into the final of the latter.
Thanks to the previous months weather, March & April were some of the busiest months I’ve known for any football club. Tuesday night games were a mainstay, with a few on Thursdays having to be thrown in for good measure. Concord were able to cope though, and remained unbeaten through March until an away trip to Wealdstone on the 28th where they fell 1-2. A victory over Canvey Island on Easter Monday did little to stop a slide though, as the Beachboys then lost their next 3 league games. The league wasn’t the main story at this moment in time however, as on Tuesday 9th April history was made when Concord Rangers beat Dulwich Hamlet 3-2 aet to become Isthmian League Cup Champions. It was a fantastic performance from the team, and the support shown for the lads was excellent. Later that month the form returned with hard earned victories at Leiston & Met Police which confirmed our place in the playoffs, but at the time of writing our opponents were not certain.
Within the season we’ve also seen our players take a battering. Striker Harry Elmes suffered a horrific broken leg in a home game against Thurrock, a player who means a lot to the team on & off the pitch, I personally wish him all the best and it’s been great seeing him at games recently cheering the lads on. Other players have been seen to take harsh knocks too, Easterford putting his head on the line & coming away a bloody mess, and more recently Danny Spendlove suffering a double break to his eye socket & a compressed/fractured cheekbone. The team have been through the wars this year, and they have worked hard for what they’ve achieved. Now after the home game against Leiston it’s time to focus on the next goal, securing promotion through the playoffs!
You Are My Concord
Alan Jessup-PeacockChairman “Concord Supporters Association”