Concord Rangers 4 St Ives Town 3
Man of the Match: Dan Banister (St Ives Town)
“The Saints bow out to the Beachboys but not without a fight”
by Simon Clark
The Saints played their part in today’s thrilling FA Cup match with seven goals, a sending off and a fantastic away support in excess of 100 supporters making their trip down to Canvey Island.
In a game of much expectation, it was the Conference side who took control of the game in the first 20 minutes and showed the difference in the levels these two in form clubs play and on 12 minutes Gary Ogilvie opened the scoring with a low right footed drive, through a crowd of players, into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to the Beach Boys. Within 60 seconds of the re-start, Ogilvie found himself with an open goal but his close range effort struck the bottom of the post and went for a goal kick. On 18 minutes, Steve Cawley doubled their advantage and this game looked set to be one sided but with the influential Dan Banister in fine form he saw his initial effort on 20 minutes rebound from the bar but his follow up header went just wide of Jamie Butler’s near post.
It was on 22 minutes when Dubi Ogbonna found space ahead of the Concord back four and his side footed effort bounced into the bottom corner. At this point the game went from a 2-0 cruising victory to a 2-1 cup tie and the Saints supporters were given hope of a comeback. Shortly before the half hour mark, a weak Jordan Lambert back pass left Nick Bennion stranded and Sam Higgins skipped past the advancing Bennion to smash home from 5 yards into the open goal.
Nick Bennion was also in fine form soon after with a double save denying both Cawley and Higgins. With Concord providing some excellent pressure on the Saints goal it was that man; Dubi Ogbonna, who brought the game closer and he made it 3-2 on 36 minutes when he created space outside the box and let fly with low right footed drive giving Butler no chance in the Rangers goal.
With the Beach Boys leading 3-2 at half time, it was the opening five minutes of the second half that changed the game. Having earlier been cautioned, Jimmy Dean’s lunging tackle from behind was deemed to be yet another caution with referee; Anthony Serrano, having no choice but to reduce the Saints to ten men and show the Saints skipper a red card.
From the resulting free kick, a deflected effort fell kindly to Steve Cawley who tapped in from close range to almost put the game to bed for the Conference side, making it 4-2.
A spirited performance by the ten man Saints side thwarted Concord and a string of fine saves from Nick Bennion kept all hopes alive for everyone involved with the club earning him the plaudits of being in contention for man of the match.
On 83 minutes, and with the Saints starting to apply more and more pressure, Stuart Cobb’s right footed curling effort left Butler at full stretch but unable to save as the Saints pulled it back to 4-3 and setting up a tense finale to what was an epic and thrilling cup tie. Moments later Dan Newman’s volley looped over the bar and the minutes ran down for the Saints as Concord held on to the victory.
Saints Co Manager; Jez Hall spoke to the website immediately after the match to give us his reaction “Both Warren and I are very proud of the team’s effort today. After a poor opening 20 minutes we calmed down and played superbly. Individual errors cost us and having to play 40 minutes with 10 men killed us” Hall added “With 11 men on the field we will never know what might have happened but we are really proud of the lads and the effort was outstanding”
Saints Line Up: Bennion, King, Newman, Lambert, Fordham, D Cobb (Ellison 83), S Cobb, Gibbs (Meechan 76), Ogbonna (Roberts 62), Banister, Dean.
Referee: Anthony Serrano
The Saints now face more cup action next Saturday as they enter the FA Trophy for the first time in the club’s history with another away trip to Rainworth Miners Welfare from Mansfield.