No cup shock as Potters Bar Town beaten by second-half comeback from Concord Rangers
PUBLISHED: 17:07 04 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:00 05 October 2020
A strong first-half showing from Potters Bar Town wasn’t enough as FA Trophy finalists Concord Rangers picked up a 2-1 win in the FA Cup second qualifying round.
Samson Esan had put the Isthmian League Premier Division side in front and it was nothing more than they deserved on the balance of play.
But the National League South outfit, playing their first competitive game of the new season, bagged two after the break, both from striker Alex Wall.
The last FA Cup tie at the Parkfield ground almost 12 months earlier had resulted in an explosive finish, with a 101st-minute equaliser against Barnet.
But the only drama this time was three red cards, two to Rangers, and one to Bar.
There had been enough drama even prior to kick-off with the match originally set to be played at the Beachboys’ Thames Road home.
Wet weather and a waterlogged pitch put pay to the original date on Saturday and with the rain continuing to fall, the decision was taken to switch the fixture to the LA Construction Stadium.
Had that not been allowed there could have been the farcical decision to remove both clubs from the competition, with the FA decreeing that all games in the round had to be completed by Monday evening.
The change of venue and all the disruption that caused may have been the root of Concord’s problems.
That would be rather disingenuous to the Scholars though who were excellent in the first period.
The goal was no less than they deserved as they got at their visitors from the off, harrying them into mistakes and rushed passes.
Esan had looked a bag of tricks in the opening exchanges and took his goal fantastically well.
Nana Kyei jumped on an error from a defender and after a few strides forward his pass was sent into the far corner first time by the number 10.
There had been chances before this too.
Esan and Mason Tunbridge had combined to almost get Ben Ward-Cochrane in, his chip going over Chris Haigh but the crossbar too, and Callum Ellesley kicked the turf as the goal opened up in front of him.
The Concord keeper also made less than comfortable saves following a drive from Joe Payne and then Esan.
The one criticism of Bar in the first period was they perhaps looked for the killer ball a little bit too often, but that was picking straws.
Concord did push forward later in the period but without ever testing Fred Burbridge and the expectation was that half-time would see the Beachboys a far different proposition.
The first five minutes followed just that pattern with Rangers opting for a barrage of direct balls into the box.
The tactic brought rewards too. A shot from Jason Raad was deflected over and then a dipping punt from distance from Tom Hanfrey was pushed away by the keeper.
And just as it seemed the Scholars had weathered the early storm, Concord equalised.
It was a soft one too from a home point of view. A silly foul on the left gave Concord a chance to put the ball into the box which they duly did.
Burbridge did superb to get his hands up and stop the ball when it flicked off a head, however, it dropped kindly for Wall who stubbed it home from a few yards.
Esan could and perhaps should have gave an instant response but after flicking it beyond the last defender and winning the foot race with Haigh, he snatched at his shot and it thundered off the bar and went over.
It was Concord’s turn to press again after that and there were a couple of nervy moments, including another good save for Burbridge from Blanchfield, and a shot across the face of goal and wide.
Ryan Young had an effort that looked destined for the corner of the net before being deflected wide and from the resulting set-piece Kyei curled it over the bar.
But again, just as it seemed Concord’s threat was diminishing, they scored, and again it was a goal that could have been avoided.
A clearance was sliced up in the air and allowed the visitors to go down the left wing.
And when the cross was whipped in, it flicked up beating the covering defence and was turned in by Wall.
Chances were always going to be at a minimum for the home side as Rangers looked to use their experience and close the game out. They still managed to create a couple though.
Substitute Ken Charles forced Haigh to tip a shot over and the keeper then had to push an effort from Keagan Cole out.
The game ended with tempers boiling over.
Substitute Femi Babalola picked up two yellow cards, the second for a bad tackle that could have brought a straight red, before a clash between Kieron Cathline and Tom Hanfrey ended with both sent immediately to the dressing rooms.
It was a bad end to a day that had promised plenty for the home side just an hour earlier.
Potters Bar Town: Burbridge, Tingey, Payne, Cole, Ellesley (Budden 59), Cathline, Young (Livings 73), Tunbridge, Ward-Cochrane (Charles 67), Esan, Kyei.
Subs (not used): Gogo, Ruff, Barker, Furlong.
Goal: Esan 21
Booked: Tunbridge 52, Young 53
Sent-off: Cathline 90+5
Concord Rangers: Haigh, Popo, Hanfrey, Blackman, Pollock, Sterling, Remfry (Reynolds 46), Roast, Wall, Blanchfield (Martin 71), Raad (Babalola 81).
Subs (not used): Scott, Green, Johnson.
Goals: Wall 54, 71
Booked: Blanchfield 45+1, Blackman 45+2, Raad 63, Sterling 88, Babalola 90, 90+2
Sent-off: Babalola 90+2, Hanfrey 90+5
HT: Potters Bar Town 1 Concord Rangers 0
Referee: Jack Packman (Margate)
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