Spirit key to Concord Rangers’ top season, says boss Danny Cowley ahead of play-off final against Lowestoft Town
Concord Rangers will arrive at Crown Meadow this afternoon as underdogs, and a side already happy with what they have achieved this season – but don't be fooled. They had the same attitude for their promotion play-off semi-final.
The Essex side have made huge strides forward this term under manager Danny Cowley winning the Ryman League Cup and moving from their midtable efforts last season to a fourth place finish. But while they could have settled for that, they didn't.
Heavily fancied Wealdstone led Concord for most of their semi-final on Wednesday, before Leon Gordon equalised with two minutes to go and Tony Stokes broke their hosts' hearts with the winner 18 minutes into extra-time.
And while that means Lowestoft could well fancy their chances this afternoon, they should also beware a side that carries some excellent away form and team spirit by the bucket load.
'For us to gain a top-five position in this division, win the Ryman League Cup and finish above our local rivals Canvey Island for the first time in our history represented a brilliant season for the club,' said Cowley.
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'Regardless of what happens between now and the play-off final, everyone connected with the club will be able to look back with pride over what we have achieved this season.
'I have always been quite clear in my mind regarding our DNA as a club and feel that for a team to be successful, it must represent the club's identity.
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'This year we have been able to bring a group of people together that have bought into our unique spirit. We try to sign players that love the game, enjoy working hard, are resilient and determined to be the best that they can be. If you put like minded players together in a changing room they will instantly hit it off and team' spirit will take care of itself.
'I think the boys have enjoyed each others' company and have genuinely looked forward to both training and games. If players are happy and enjoying their football they will play at their best.
'Our league form has been incredibly consistent since September and our away form in particular has been a highlight.
'We needed to beat both Wealdstone and Lowestoft away. Bearing in mind Wealdstone's home record and the fact we are 16-1 down on aggregate in our four encounters against Lowestoft at Crown Meadow, it will be tough ask to win promotion.
'However, our players have continually shown all season they don't know when they are beaten. For our club, anything is possible. Ordinary people can achieve special things if they work hard.'