Flying High With Concord

Everybody hates Concord, or so their supporters have been known to claim.   It is true that we have had a bad experience or two with their fans in the past back in the Division 1 North days – Wingate supporters recall the match where Leon had to be restrained from leaping into the crowd after one of the Concord fans hurled racist abuse at him.   They always used to turn up in force and significant groups of them could at best be described as unpleasant.   Those were the days when Concord Rangers were riding high in the league and looking to gain promotion to the Ryman Premier Division.

What a difference a few seasons and a lowly league position make.  I actually think we outnumbered the visiting fans for a change (can’t say that about most matches!) and, although there was one small group of unpleasant characters the vast majority of the visiting fans were of the friendly non-league supporter type.   Based on this, rather poor sample of one club, the conclusion has to be that the unpleasant fans are also the most fickle and least likely to support their team when it isn’t doing well.

The game kicked off on a cool and misty afternoon.  Rain was forecast (it usually is on November 5th) but apart from occasional drizzle it stayed away for the duration of the match.   It being Guy Fawkes day we should have been expecting fireworks and Ahmet and Leon duly provided them in the first 10 minutes of the match.    On the 5 minute mark Keiron put Ahmet through on the wing and he was able to square the ball to Leon, who slotted it home.   I missed that first goal because I was having a pleasant chat with a Concord fan who’d stopped to ask me if I was from the Non-League Paper (yes there is such a thing!).   He apologised and I told him not to worry – it was up the other end and the photo would have been poor anyway!

On the 10th minute Leon returned the compliment with a pass that set Ahmet up with a scoring opportunity on his wrong (left) foot.  He took the chance firing it home beneath the diving keeper in the bottom left hand corner.   So, a very brisk start by the home side!   The game now settled down a bit with The Blues passing it around and The Beachboys playing more of the long game which brought a couple of long range chances before they got themselves on the scoresheet with a crisp low strike by Tony Stokes which beat Bobby Smith at the far post.

Last Ditch Tackle

Last Ditch Tackle!

The Blues had thrown away a two goal lead in their previous game against Kingstonian, so there was a degree of concern amongst the fans at this point.   Both sides continued to press forwards and chances were created at both ends.   Both keepers pulled off some good saves in this period and in the dying minutes of the first half Concord thought they might have had a penalty after their number 11 was tackled in the box by Keiron but the ref rightly concluded that it was a good tackle.

The second half was very much end to end stuff but Wingate & Finchley were having the best of it and the Concord players were appealing for anything and everything.   Fortunately the ref wasn’t about to be conned into giving non-existant handballs or other perceived misdemeanours either though one or two Blues fans expressed a concern that he was looking for an opportunity to give a penalty to even the match up.

Ahmet Strikes

Ahmet Strikes!

Fans do sometimes get gut feelings of this sort but it didn’t happen and we’ll never know if that was really the case because in the 65th minute it became somewhat academic.   Tony Burke and Josh Cooper combined to create a chance for Ahmet who made no mistake, striking it hard with his right boot past the defenders and keeper to score his second of the game.

After that, Concord were little threat, lobbing high balls into the box which the Bobby Aisien and Danny Neils’ had no trouble dealing with.

Celebration Time

Celebration Time!

The Wingate fans broke out some sparklers and had an impromptu party at the Summers Lane end – in truth, it was planned and would have happened whatever the scoreline but there was an added feeling of celebration with a 3 – 1 lead.    Ahmet very nearly completed his hat-trick but his brilliant long range strike was tipped over the bar by Richard Hayward – who had a fine game and didn’t really deserve to be on the losing side.   The joy of victory was shared after the final whistle with fans and players applauding each other – it was a victory won by a quality team performance where everyone played for each other.

In the bar afterwards we had a friendly chat with one or two stragglers amongst the Concord faithful.   It’s amazing how times change and with it the perceptions – Concord will be welcome next time 🙂

Applauding The Fans

Applauding The Fans!

All thoughts expressed are my own and do not represent the views of Wingate & Finchley FC.

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Comments

  1. Always enjoy your posts even though I’m not much of a sports fan by any stretch of the imagination. The shots in this post really illustrate the spirit of the game, especially “Ahmet Strikes!” Brilliant shot!

    • Thank you – most people are not Sports fans and I’m very much a transport enthusiast at heart. My interest in football is relatively recent – you can catch up with how I got involved here.

      I think the spirit of the game at non-League level is very much alive and well. The players and staff don’t get lots of money – they usually have to hold down a full time job elsewhere in order to eat. Several of the officials are non-paid volunteers – I’m the club’s ‘official’ Match Photographer which means that I also get involved in non-match photography too. The effect is that everybody knows everybody else and it’s very much a family atmosphere. The really nice thing is that you can chat with the players and manager after the match – try doing that at Arsenal for example!

  2. Love that first shot, the three contrasting colors, the design (in Matisse’s terms, the space around) —
    and the last, applauding the fans.
    I’m beginning to discover the beauty in sports apart from the game itself, thanks to your photos!

    • Thank you Judith – Bobby originally hated that orange kit but we’ve convinced him that it looks good! I suspect Matisse would have done a better job – But your comment makes me wonder if someone could paint these scenes as I suspect that could produce some great paintings! I know that motor racing has attracted a number of artists. Actually that photo could make a nice painting in an impressionist style with, perhaps, the brush strokes arranged to convey the movement that the camera stops 🙂

      There is always a deep level of mutual support at our club – the fans support the team but also the players as individuals and they return the compliment. We’ve had a period of struggle (and no doubt will have more bad periods this season) so it was great to celebrate together as a club. That is perhaps the most beautiful part of the game 🙂

  3. Very clear shot for the event ,full action always 🙂

  4. Oh football…
    I was expecting plane photos. Great action shots

    • Sorry Tony – that’s Concorde with an ‘e’ 😉 I do have plane photos in my collection – might dig some out and do a post on the subject… we’ll see. Thanks for popping by 🙂

  5. Sounds like a great time, Martin!
    (For some reason I always thought hat-trick was a term exclusive to hockey – interesting!)
    🙂

  6. thirdhandart says:

    Outstanding photos and reporting! Especially love the last photo. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sports team applaud the fans.

    • Thanks Theresa – It isn’t very common – usually an individual player may do it when being substituted after a putting in a great performance. I have seen it a few times before but, like many other good things in the game, it becomes less common the further up the leagues a team progresses. This is very much part of the semi-professional level of the football game.

  7. I do love a happy ending! Good to hear the spirit of the game at that level is alive, well and truly local.
    Great shots!

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