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Concord Rangers lose at home to Bognor Regis Town
Concord 1, Bognor Regis Town 3
IT WAS an opening day to forget for Concord as they wilted in the sun and deservedly lost to a well-organised visiting Bognor side.
There was justified reason for optimism for the Beachboys going into the match following an impressive pre-season which featured six clean sheets, and a number of eye-catching new additions to their squad.
But the performance failed to materialise and some slack defending and cheap surrendering of possession left them chasing the game in stifling heat at the Aspect Arena on Saturday afternoon.
There was little between the sides in the opening 20 minutes, but Concord shaded it as Danny Spendlove just failed to connect with a header in front of goal, and strike partners Tony Stokes and Jason Hallett both tested keeper Craig Stoner with well-struck shots.
But the first warning sign came in the 23th minute when Lewis Stockford was afforded time in the penalty box to set the ball for James Crane to flash a first-time volley a few feet past the angle of the goal.
And two minutes later the visitors had the lead as home keeper Michael Jordan spilled a left-wing cross from Ben Johnson and in the resulting confusion burley striker Ashley Robinson had the simple task of rolling the ball into an unguarded net.
The lead only lasted three minutes, though, as newly-appointed Concord skipper Tony Stokes was bundled over on the edge of the Bognor box before dusting himself off to drive the dead-ball into the bottom corner.
Concord continued to shade the half but were lucky not to go behind again when Robinson had acres of space down the right to pick a cross which the arriving Mu Maan just failed to connect with from six yards out.
Spendlove, who was out of sorts before he was substituted in the second half, wasted a glorious chance eight minutes before the interval when he could only manage a fresh-air shot from Reece Harris’ low centre.
And they paid for that seconds later as the ball was given away in midfield and Robinson’s deft through ball allowed Maan to fire home under the advancing Jordan.
It was a lacklustre second-half which the visitors largely-controlled and they hit a killer third on 66 minutes when substitute Steve Harper found space down the right, and his low centre was slid home by Crane.
Concord introduced attacking midfielder Chris Bourne and strikers Tosan Popo and Jacob Cleaver as they chased the game, but they failed to turn possession into clear cut chances and must now lick their wounds ahead of tomorrow’s lengthy trip to Lowestoft.
Concord (4-4-2): Jordan; Coyne, King, Easterford, Glozier; Spendlove (Bourne 62), J Elmes (Popo 69), Cowley, Harris; Stokes, Hallett (Cleaver 85).
Echo MOM: Reece Harris (Concord).