Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Concord look to down leaders Whitehawk in game of the day
THERE’S a brilliant game in prospect at the Aspect Arena tomorrow as red-hot Concord Rangers host Ryman Premier leaders Whitehawk.
With six straight wins and a staggering 24 goals in their last four games, the Beachboys are just about the most feared team in the division right now.
But with four wins, a draw and a defeat from their last six, last year’s Ryman One South champions will arrive full of confidence.
Concord boss Danny Cowley said he does not feel they are favourites for the game, but admitted he had little to grumble about with his team at present. “We are in a good moment and we are going to enjoy it, but we are not getting carried away,” he said.
“We have won six games on the trot, but we know we could go six games without a win in this league because there are small margins between success and failure.
“Whitehawk have probably got six players who have played in the football league – the boy Tommy Fraser is 24 and he’s played 50 games for Port Vale as captain. That’s the type of player they have got.
“We’ve watched them and they are very experienced and very orgainsed, so if we can get any sort of result it will probably surpass what we have done in the last five or six games.”
Cowley said he’s pleased they have addressed the poor home form which dogged them at the start of the season.
And he admitted the stunning form of striker Jason Hallett – who has scored 13 goals in two cup games – has given him one of a number of welcome selection problems all over the pitch.
“In the early weeks of the season it was a case of maybe thinking about one position, and the rest just picked themselves,” he said.
“But on Saturday I had four or five difficult decisions to make, and I enjoyed that because you want to have people putting their hands up and wanting to play.
“We’ve got a small squad, but you know when you’ve got four people sitting on the bench who feel they should be playing that you have got the squad you need to give you a chance of doing well.”
Billericay Town could have two new midfielders in their squad for tomorrow’s tasty-looking FA Trophy clash at home to Cambridge United.
Town owner Grant Gordon said they were in talks with two players as the Echo went to press.
Their arrival at New Lodge would follow that of striker Jeff Hammond, who made his debut as a substitute in Tuesday’s defeat at Dover Athletic.
Gordon said: “We are in talks with two players and hope to bring them in to give us some competition for places in the middle of the park.”
Town will be looking for a good response to a 4-1 defeat in their rearranged Conference South game at Dover.
Craig Edwards scored Town’s goal to reduce the hosts’ lead to 2-1, and Gordon said the final scoreline flattered Dover, who took advantage of a bad night for young goalkeeper Luke Bartlett.
Gordon said: “Our goalkeeper had a bad night and was at fault for three of their goals, and that was the difference really.
“But it’s not fair to be too critical of him because we were unbeaten in six going into the game and he’s played a big part in that – his performances have definitely won us points.
“He just had one of those nights; if he was a left back he might have got away with it, but as a keeper he was punished.”
Billericay booked their spot in tomorrow’s first round with a 3-2 win a fortnight ago over Enfield Town, who had already knocked out Concord Rangers.
Cambridge are 18th in the Conference National and come into the game on the back of a 1-1 home draw with Tamworth.
Gordon said: “They are an ex-League club so hopefully they will travel well and we can give a good account of ourselves.
“We have settled nicely in this division now, so hopefully we can have a little cup run too, to help keep our season fresh.”
The clubhouse at New Lodge will open at midday and there will be live football on the TV.
Canvey Island will be looking for their first win in five matches when they go to Hendon, who moved off the foot of the table with a midweek draw with Cray.
The Gulls will be without winger Dean Mason, though, who made his final appearance for the club in Wednesday’s exit from the league cup at Waltham Forest. Jay Curran scored Canvey’s goal in a 3-1 defeat at the Cricklefield Stadium.
East Thurrock will be confident of making it back-to-back wins for the first time since early October when they host bottom-club Leiston. Leiston have lost all five league games on the road this season.
Bowers & Pitsea will be looking for their first win in two months when they make the short trip to Souchchurch Park to face Southend Manor.
Bowers’ league cup quarter final with Eton Manor on Wednesday was called off because of the bad weather.
Great Wakering will want to consolidate their place at the top of the table when they go to sixth place Barkingside.
Rovers were knocked out of the league cup on Tuesday by London Bari.
Danny Heale and Lewis Sparrow were on target for Rovers in a 3-2 defeat – which gave Bari a 5-2 aggregate win.
Basildon United are away to third-placed Burnham Ramblers.