Concord Rangers vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier, Tuesday 3rd October, 7.45 pm – Match Preview

Cray Wanderers play the second of three successive away games on Tuesday night as the Wands visit Concord Rangers for the first time since October 2012.  Kick off at Thames Road, 7.45pm.

The Wands will be looking to rebound quickly after the disappointing 0-3 defeat at Kingstonian on Saturday which moved Cray back into the bottom four after a mini-revival of two successive league wins.  

Cray will be looking for more of the form which saw Neil Smith’s side beat Chatham Town and Cheshunt last month and return to winning ways.

The performance of Shaun Rowley in September was outstanding and was on Saturday and also the appearance off the bench of 16 year old George Brooke shows the young players are coming through and getting first team games.  There were key players missing on Saturday like Frankie Raymond, Will Wood, Cameron Thompson and Cameron Black through injuries and suspension but hopefully these will start to ease and with the Concord Rangers game coming so soon after Saturday that might not be a bad thing and to move on. 

With a tough trip to Needham Market in the FA Trophy to come it will be a sapping few days but there is enough quality and ability within the squad to be competitive and start to look up the table.

Concord Rangers have made their return to the Isthmian Premier this season after ten seasons in the National South after finishing 22nd in 2022-23.  Sammy Collins’ side, much like Cray, had a difficult opening to the season and lost their opening seven league matches. However, the Beachboys will come into the game lifted by a gutsy 2-1 win at home to Folkestone Invicta on Saturday after going a goal down with goals from Harrison Day and Tahjae Anderson to move off the bottom of the table.

Concord were beaten in their first three home games by Hashtag United (1-4), Margate (1-2) and Canvey Island (1-3) and were beaten at Enfield Town, Hastings United, Carshalton Athletic and Dulwich Hamlet.  In the FA Cup, Concord were beaten in the 1QR at Wroxham after a replay.  In the FA Trophy next weekend, Concord host Hythe Town.

This will be the first time Cray have visited Concord Rangers since 20th October 2012 where the Wands picked up a handsome 4-0 win with goals from Leigh Bremner, Paul Vines (2) and Lol Hamici in a season where Concord were promoted.  Concord won the corresponding game at Hayes Lane, 2-0 on 7th January 2013.  The overall record over six games is Cray have won two, Concord three and one draw.

 Concord Rangers are still a relatively young football club being formed in 1967 initially as a boys side but gradually worked their way in the following years into junior and intermediate football in Mid-Essex.  In 1990-91 they gained promotion into the Essex Senior League and won the Senior League title three times in 1997-98, 2003-04 and 07-08 with the latter under the management of Danny Cowley and Danny Scopes winning promotion to the Isthmian North. They also reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Vase that season.

In their first season in the Isthmian North in 2008-09 they finished 5th and reached the playoff final losing to Waltham Abbey but the following season finished 2nd and defeated East Thurrock United and Enfield Town to earn promotion to the Premier where they met Cray Wanderers for the first time in the 2010-11 season where they finished 8th.  In 2012-13 Concord finished 4th in the Premier and despite being drawn away each time beat Wealdstone and Lowestoft Town in the playoffs to earn another promotion to the Conference South.

Concord Rangers generally held their own in the National South with four top 10 finishes and came 6th in 2018-19.  In the 2019-20 season which ultimately will be remembered as the one which Covid-19 ended abruptly, Concord reached the final of the FA Trophy. Wins against Slough Town, Maidstone United, Bath City, Leamington, Royston Town and Halesowen took them to the final against Harrogate Town which ended up being played in 2021 with then EFL Harrogate winning 1-0. Their stay in the National South came to an end last season after a 22nd placed finish but certainly ruffled more than a few feathers in the league over ten seasons.

This will be the first of two Tuesday night trips to Canvey Island in the next three weeks for Cray Wanderers and with both teams looking to move up the table this is a game with a bit of early season importance.


Concord Rangers FC

The Aspect Arena, Thames Road, Canvey Island, Essex  SS8 0HH


Adults £12
Concessions £7
Under 17’s £3


Take the A130 towards Canvey Island, and after about four miles from the A13/A130 junction you will pass Canvey Island Infant School on your right. You will then reach a mini roundabout where you turn right into Thorney Bay Road. Then take the third right into Thames Road. The ground is further down this road on the left. There is a fair sized car park at the ground, or street parking on the road running alongside the ground.


The nearest railway station is Benfleet which is located just under three miles away from the ground. Benfleet station is served by trains from London Fenchurch Street. There is a taxi rank outside the station. It will cost around £10 to the ground. Alternatively First Bus run regular services from Benfleet Railway Station to Canvey Island. Both services Number 21 (from Bus Stop A) and Number 27 (From Bus Stop C) go along Thorney Bay Road, which is at the top of Thames Road for the ground. See the First Bus website for timetables and fares.

At the ground itself is the aptly named ‘Beach Bar’, which is a fair sized bar which is open to all. Otherwise due to the remote location of the ground, there is nothing else within walking distance, in terms of pubs and eating establishments. The most recommended pubs in Canvey Island are the Lobster Smack, a Dickensian themed pub/restaurant which used to feature bare knuckle boxing in the Victorian era (Haven Road, SS8 0NR), the Haystack Public House (96 Furtherwick Road, SS8 7AE) and Windjammer (Eastern Esplanade SS8 7HG). For Benfleet Station, there is the Hoy and Helmet which is just across the road in the High Street. Opposite is the Half Crown. The recommended chippie is the Islander on Furtherwick Road near the Haystack Pub.

Concord Rangers are unique in non-league football to be a club named after a beach after Concord Beach, a tourist attraction in Canvey Island.  It might not be quite the evening for a stroll or to sit on the beach unless you are lucky enough to make a day of it.  I have only seen the Wands play there once before and I only have a vague recollection of the ground but do recall the caravan/holiday park close by.

Canvey Island is a reclaimed island in the Thames Estuary and the coastal part of the Island became a fashionable place to live and visit especially for Londoners looking for a bit of sea air. It has a promenade of amusements, clubs and stalls which are situated not too far away from the ground. Sadly, the area being fairly low is prone to flooding and in February 1953, the North Sea flood hit the island leading to 58 deaths and damage to holiday homes. The South of the island has been associated with the petrochemical industry and oil refineries have been based there since the 1930’s.