National League South Tue 27 September The Aspect Arena
Concord Rangers
  • Theobalds (60')
  • Pearce (19')

Following on from Saturday’s one-all draw at Hemel Hempstead Town it was all change again, with Skipper Aarran Racine and Cal Kealy both rested as Javaun Splatt made his full debut. Dan Bowry, James Beresford and Danny Barker were all called up off the subs seats too, swapping places with Joe Rye, Reece Myles-Meekums and Sammie McLeod, complimented by the squad returns of Mo Jammeh and Adam Adam.

In a third from top versus third from bottom clash it was the struggling hosts, on the back of five straight league defeats (six in all competitions,) who almost shocked their high-flying guests when our former striker Ben Williamson nodded the ball forward for Nana Kyei inside the penalty area. Only a timely intervention by Captain Barker prevented the hosts taking a fourth minute lead.

A short while later, good hold-up skills from Splatt in a central position, around twenty yards out, saw the tall attacker spread play out to Joel Colbran on the right. His low cross was tapped in by an offside Ollie Pearce but the in-form number ten made no mistake approaching the midway point of the first-half.

Beresford demonstrated admirable strength before eventually locating Moe Shubbar on the same right-hand side; the Crawley Town loanee’s delivery clipped over goalkeeper Melvin Minter by a well-placed Pearce.

Little more than ninety seconds further on, Lewis White might have made it two. Harrying Tosan Popo as he tried to shield a long ball down the inside-left channel resulted in a heavy touch letting in the ex-Carshalton Athletic winger to tee-up Pearce at the far post. Unfortunately, on this occasion, Ollie could only chest onto the crossbar a short distance away from it.

The dynamic duo linked-up again not long after that by forcing a mistake in the box to regain possession, though Minter ultimately denied OP with his legs.

Added time produced a pair of possibilities for a more comfortable interlude.

Zipping the ball around with confidence, Worthing worked it to Splatt who in turn picked out Kane Wills to blaze over the top from marginally outside the eighteen yard area,

Finally, White was a whisker away when he unleashed a curling effort an identical distance out but the Sussex Seasiders would have to settle for a narrow one-nil at the break.
Despite Rangers kicking-off the second period, a couple of well-judged headers, without spilling a drop of tea, meant that Trevor Smart’s negotiation of the main stand steps drew warm applause on a cooler-than-normal night.

Returning to matters on the pitch, more fine work by White allowed Splatt to sidestep Jack Davies, only to be kept out by the ever-alert Minter.

A rare mistake by Barker provided a sight of the target for Aaron Eyoma. Harrison Male down well to hold a low attempt at his near upright.

Eyoma then fizzed a dangerous-looking delivery across the six yard box without anyone able to apply a decisive finish, prior to Concord countering to break up a Reds attack that concluded with Cam Tutt’s headed clearance only reaching Ryan Blackman. Fortunately, his shot flew over the bar and almost off the Island.

Less than half-an-hour to go though and there was no denying D’Sean Theobalds a well-struck equaliser. Bending a fifteen yard, side-footer beyond the diving Male after Blackman had done a great deal of donkey work.

An instant riposte almost ended with Shubbar turning home Beresford’s driven cross, missing by a matter of inches at the back stick.

A minor delay in shooting by Pearce gave Luke Pennell enough time to put in a vital block before substitute Adam was frustrated by the width of the post.

Wills went long to split the Beachboys’ backline and pick out Splatt in the penalty box, where an initial chest control promised much but Minter was there once more to pounce and protect a precious point.

Brave defending on the edge of his area resulted in an improvised header to clear the danger met with a clattering of Male by the man he stopped getting any nearer to the net, replacement Lewis Johnson, two minutes shy of whatever the referee elected to add at the end.

The points came close to jumping on the coach back to Woodside Road when Pearce nodded the wrong side of the rear upright. Tutt’s teasing deep deliverance setting up a great opportunity.

Five minutes over the allotted ninety, Adam’s through ball slightly changed direction via a yellow shirt, yet Pearce would be left cursing his luck one last time. Minter swatting away with a swish of his right foot to leave a Reds record of won five, drawn five in National League South.