Saturday, 30 August 2014

Gosport Borough, Vanaram South, 300814

The season is a month old already, 5 games down (6 if you include today) and already we’ve seen some highs & lows. But there’s always games to look forward to, and the coming month will see us encounter familiar faces and make our first foray into cup action this season.

First up will be Sutton United away on September 6th, a team that last year gave us our first home point of the season in a 0-0 draw on Bank Holiday Monday. On our travels to Sutton though we fell to a 0-1 defeat in late April during our hectic end of season run in! This time round we’ll be looking to pick up a positive result there against a very tough team. We’ll also be up against a familiar face in Tom Lovelock, a young goalkeeper who spent some time on loan with the Beachboys a couple of seasons ago. As good a ‘keeper as he is, I’m sure the lads will be eager to put one or more past him!

3 days later the boys will be back on home turf as we play host to Bishops Stortford, with whom we had an interesting encounter last season! In the away fixture, there was a bit of a clash between our gaffer Danny Cowley and the Stortford boss Rod Stringer, who for a period of time worked at Concord Rangers alongside Danny! On the night we picked up a fantastic 1-0 win, which had earned us some aspect of revenge after losing 2-0 in the home tie. At the heart of the Stortford defence is a former Beachboy in Ashley Miller. Ash spent some time with Concord Rangers before making the switch to Canvey Island, so he’s more than familiar with the lads on and off the pitch here at the club.

The following Saturday (13th September) will see a team visit the Aspect Arena for the first time since 15th September 2012, Wealdstone. They were our first opponents in the playoffs during our promotion season as we went to their place and won 2-1. On their last visit to Thames Road Wealdstone were able to earn a point in a 2-2 draw. I’m sure they’ve missed seeing us so this should be a great encounter!

On Saturday 20th September there’s currently no game scheduled, this is because when the fixtures were put together this was a date we were originally due to play Salisbury. Obviously the issues with Salisbury have been well publicised, and it looks like the lads will have the day off (although they’ll probably be stuck training instead!)

Then there’s the small matter of the FA Cup, our adventure last season saw us reach the 4th qualifying round for the first time only to crash out to a well-drilled and professional Barnet side. This year Danny Cowley and the team will be looking to go at least one better and make the first round proper, and the journey will begin on Saturday 27th September in the 2nd Qualifying Round. Now we wont know who we’re playing until around the 15th of this month, but home or away the lads will be ready to make it a successful start to the campaign!

An interesting month ahead I’m sure you’ll agree, I hope to see as many of you here throughout the month cheering the lads on!

You Are My Concord!

Alan Jessup-Peacock

Concord Rangers Supporters Association Chairman, Programme Editor

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Eastbourne Borough, Vanarama South, 230814

What a start it’s been already to the 2014/15 Vanarama Conference South season! Certainly expected some ups and downs, but I don't think anyone expected the differences we’ve already seen and experienced.

Take the opening day of the season, Concord Rangers put on a masterclass against Bath City, playing some sublime football at times and giving Bath City a lot to worry about through the entire 90 minutes. Although two of our three goals were penalties, I don't think anybody watching the game on the day could say that the lads weren’t deserving of the scoreline or the result.

Then the lows began to creep in, firstly with Leon Gordon limping off and suffering an injury, which has kept him out of our games since then. Here’s hoping that he makes a speedy recovery and gets back into the side soon.

It was off to Ebbsfleet on the following Tuesday, and within the first twenty minutes we’d lost two further defenders to injury! Steve King limped off, whilst soon after Jack Lampe was helped off after suffering a broken jaw. From where I was standing I couldn’t see how he got caught, but he was down for some time and we await an update as to his recovery time.

The boys responded well though, and put in a determined performance, however Ebbsfleet scored from two rare chances (all about making those count) and were able to come away with a 2-0 victory.

Another away trip beckoned last Saturday as we faced Hayes & Yeading (who are currently ground-sharing with Maidenhead). The trip was an unnecessarily long one thanks to incredible amounts of traffic round the M25, so our away support cut it awfully close to kick off before arriving (some even turned up midway through the first half, I’ll not embarrass them here though).

It wasn’t the best game in the world, and at times it appeared that it was a totally different performance to the game a week previous vs Bath City. There were some positives though, and through the second half the team looked a lot more positive and ready to attack with a bit more venom. It wasn't enough though, as we lost 3-1 in the end to a team lucky to be in the league (Hayes & Yeading were reprieved after Hereford had financial issues).

It’s still early though, there’s plenty of games still to play and more than enough points to be won, the lads have it in them to make a big impact on this league, and I for one have the belief that they will do so on a bigger scale than last season!

You Are My Concord!

Alan Jessup-Peacock

Concord Supporters Association Chairman/Programme Editor

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Bath City, Vanarama South, 090814

So here it is, my first program as editor, and our first game of the 2014/15 Vanarama Conference South Season!

It’s certainly been an interesting summer period, what with the World Cup taking place and all the noise surrounding that, but the focus is finally back where it belongs, on the Beachboys and our second season in the Conference South. Last seasons sponsors Skrill ended their deal early, and as of just over a week ago the new sponsors were announced as being online van company Vanarama, who you may be familiar with due to their unique adverts on the tv! So as of this season we are playing in the Vanarama Conference South.

After an outstanding season last time out, with a 9th place finish and of course our Essex Senior Cup victory over Braintree, the lads will have to go a hell of a long way to improve this time round. I know that Danny (Cowley) is always keen to go one better each season, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the FA Trophy or the first round proper of the FA Cup are sitting high on his priority list right now along with another top ten league finish. Preseason so far has been testing, as has the training (I attended a session but there’s no way I’d get involved!), but it looks like the lads are fit & ready to get the job done now that the season is kicking off.

The fixtures were released early in July and threw up some interesting things, for example we’ll play Chelmsford City, Gosport Borough & Bishops Stortford twice before we even get to play St Albans City or Staines Town once! One to keep an eye on for later in the season though is Weston Super Mare away, due to take place on Saturday March 21st, might be worth a weekend away given that it’s a bit of a trek! Although hopefully the weather is a bit better than what we experienced this past March! As mentioned previously, we open up our campaign at home to Bath City, and will close our league campaign away to Farnborough on April 25th. Key dates include hosting Bromley on Boxing Day, playing the return match on New Years Day, and Non League Day will be Saturday 6th September when we travel to Sutton United.

One more thing that should be taken note of, due to certain issues Salisbury City were booted out of the Conference, and then the Conference South shortly afterwards. This means that our league will be running with just 21 teams this year rather than the normal 22, and two dates originally scheduled for games are empty at present, those being Saturday 20th September, and Saturday 21st February.

And with that, here’s to what we hope will be another successful and enjoyable season!

You Are My Concord!

Alan Jessup-Peacock

Concord Supporters Association Chairman (& new program editor)

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