By Luke Lambert
Concord Rangers made history as they upset the odds to beat Braintree Town 2-1 and lift the Essex Senior Cup.
Danny Cowley’s side produced one of their performances of the season to beat the Iron, who only just missed out on a play-off place in the Conference National, to win the cup for the first time after goals in each half from Sam Collins and James White.
A goal in the dying seconds from James Mulley came slightly too late for Braintree.
However, it was the Conference Premier side started the stronger.
Concord had their first warning when Jamie Butler was forced into a save after 30 seconds but could have fallen behind again with only two minutes on the clock – James Mulley striking the post when one-on-one with the ‘keeper.
Concord grew into the match and had their first chance after ten minutes - Gary Ogilvie breaking into the box and falling under the challenge of Ryan Peters but the referee gave nothing.
It was the underdogs who struck first, with their first effort on target.
A quickly-taken free-kick by Tony Stokes freed Danny Glozier down the left and his first time ball found the run of Sam Collins.
The recently voted Concord player-of-the-year took a touch and bent it into the far corner past Nick Hamann.
Nothing separated the sides as the half wore on although the Iron almost equalised on the stroke of half time.
Dan Sparkes’ header brought a low save from Butler and Sean Marks saw his rebound heroically blocked on the line.
Into the second half, Concord controlled the early exchanges but the first clear chance fell to Mulley, who headed over after good wing play by substitute Jordan Cox.
Concord were growing increasingly frustrated with the referee who failed to give a number of decisions in the Beachboys’ favour, although he did book Iron captain Kenny Davis for a late challenge on his opposite skipper Stokes.
From the resulting free-kick, Concord doubled their advantage.
Ogilvie drove the ball at goal and the dip and swerve on the ball meant Hamann could only parry the ball to the onrushing White, who slotted home.
Cox almost netted from a corner with 15 minutes to go and Braintree did grab a goal back through Mulley in the dying moments but it wasn’t meant to be for the Iron and Concord clung on for victory.