Friday, 13 February 2015

Chelmsford, Vanarama South, 100215

Tonight we host Chelmsford City, a team that, league aside, we seem to encounter on a regular basis, and tend to be fairly successful.

Go back to the 2008/09 season and our two sides met in the final of the Essex Senior Cup, with the Clarets winning 2-0 on the night. Since then though, the Essex Senior Cup has proven to be the place we keep meeting. Ok so there may not be too many teams in Essex, but other than this season we have a tendency to be drawn together!

The earliest that I remember is during the 2011/12 season, and the Beachboys were drawn away to the Clarets in that seasons Essex Senior Cup competition. Chelmsford were Conference South, we were just a lowly Ryman Premier side. Of course, any fan of Concord Rangers will know that league placing means absolutely nothing when you get onto that pitch with our lads, and it was highlighted with a 4-1 Beachboys victory at Citys ground.

It was the same story draw-wise the following season, but this time we were drawn at home in what was the Quarter Final stage of the competition. A thrilling game saw it end 3-3 after 90 minutes, and therefore penalties loomed. As has also become a bit of a trend in recent seasons (especially the current one) Concord Rangers were better from the spot, and won the shootout 6-5 to book a place in the Semi Finals (which we subsequently lost).

Promotion followed, so two further games a season would be contested between the Clarets and the Beach Boys. Our first league encounter last season was away from home, and much like the 90 minutes the year before the game ended with honours even. Goals from Jason Hallett and John Easterford helped us play out a 2-2 draw, giving us our first point in the Conference South. The Essex Senior Cup paired us up once again, and the trend of it being level after 90 minutes continued, this time the game ended 1-1. Penalties once more, and it was another Concord win, 3-2 being the score on this occasion. When Chelmsford visited Thames Road in the league, the result was slightly different, as the Clarets walked away comfortable 3-1 winners.

Tonights fixture essentially closes our business with each other for another season, and the Beach Boys will be hoping to have a repeat of the reverse fixture at Chelmsford when we got a hard-earned 1-0 victory.

Given that we are so close, and we have a tendency to be drawn together in our county cup competition, I'm sure there will be plenty of interesting and entertaining encounters still to come between our two sides.

#YAMC

Alan Jessup-Peacock

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Sutton, Vanarama South, 070215

Home at last! After what has seemed like an age (although it’s just been two weeks) the Beach Boys are back on home soil at the Aspect Arena.

Not much has happened though since we were last here beating (at the time) 3rd placed Whitehawk by 3 goals to nil. The Tuesday afterwards the boys and a small number of fans made the long journey down to the South coast to take on Havant & Waterlooville (who were 3rd in the league at the time). Last season on the same trip Concord were beaten by a single goal in dubious circumstances, so it was a fitting dose of football karma when this time round the scoreline was reversed.

Admittedly the pitch was horrendous, almost like quicksand in some places, and the groundsman was rolling it before the game and during half time, but that wasn’t the main story. It was all about the referee, who was one of those people who made sure the game was focused on him and him alone. A few soft bookings early on meant that he’d set his standard low, and had to maintain that throughout the 90 minutes. Of course a lack of consistency then through the rest of the game meant that both teams (and their fans) got incredibly frustrated with him, more so the hosts as two Hawks were sent off!

I can’t take anything away from the performance though, the Beach Boys were resolute in defence, and strong in midfield. The highlight though was an awesome goal from Tony Stokes with around 2 minutes gone. He knocked it past 2 defenders (whilst running uphill he’ll happily tell you) and calmly slotted the ball home before anyone had really got settled.

This past Saturday the weather struck, with our trip to Maidenhead United being called off that morning due to a frozen/waterlogged pitch. We have been pretty lucky until now with our games beating the weather, the only rearrangements really have been due to our various cup competition commitments.

Speaking of which, the draw was made the day after the Havant game for the Essex Senior Cup semi finals. Concord Rangers were the fourth and final name drawn, and we were handed an away tie to the winner of Redbridge vs AFC Hornchurch, which at the time hadn’t been played due to weather issues. The game took place this past Tuesday with the Urchins winning 3-0, therefore before the end of the month (date to be confirmed, see the website for details) Concord Rangers will look to continue their quest to retain the Essex Senior Cup by travelling to AFC Hornchurch.

Enjoy the game today, and we’ll do this all over again on Tuesday!

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