Lewes 0, Concord Rangers 3

A FINE second-half display from Concord saw them brush aside Lewes on their own patch and maintain their grip on second place in Ryman Premier division.

After an even first half, the Beachboys seized control two minutes after the restart with a goal from the in-form Jason Hallett.

After that they always more likely to add to their tally than concede, and that's what they did with slick finishes in the closing stages from Leon Gordon and Danny Spendlove to underline their dominance.

It kept them nine points behind leaders Whitehawk - but with three game in hand on the Hawks - who suffered a rare defeat at Margate.

It also left them level on 44 points with third-placed island rivals Canvey, who enjoyed a 4-2 home with over Carshalton.

Concord have a tough trip to Kingstonian on Monday night and, despite a lofty position secured by six straight league wins, manager Danny Cowley remained modest in their ambitions.

"It's still about getting to 50 points - that's our target because you get to 50 points and you stay in the division. I think we're on 44 now so we'll try and get to 50 and that will be our first objective, and then once we get there we might set another objective."

Concord were heavily depleted through injury and suspension, and Cowley revealed that he had signed himself on to play if needed - as well as 48-year-old assistant manager Glen Alzapiedi!

Cowley said: "We were literally down to bare bones and, by the way, Glen would have come on before me!"

Cowley said many of his players had played "patched up" and singled out James White - who suffered concussion in the midweek loss to Grays - for praise after he came into an unfamiliar role at centre back.

Cowley said: "He must have won 100 headers today. Over the years people have questioned James mentally, but since he has been with us he's been outstanding."

The match was due to kick-off at 2pm, but that was delayed when a linesman was injured in the warm-up and a replacement drafted in.

Concord settled well but it was Lewes who had the first attempt on goal as Layton Schaaf steered wide after Ben Godfrey did well to cross a ball which looked to be heading out of play.

Reece Harris was the driving force behind a number of bursts forward for Concord but none came to anything, and Lewes went close again when Jamie Stong's half-cleared free-kick fell at the feet of Steve Brinkhurst and he curled a shot just over.

There was a lengthy delay midway through the first half when Lewes central defender Callum Donaghey went down after stretching for the ball with a suspected dislocated knee. He was carried off on a stretcher and replaced by Jordan Stubbings.

Concord went close to an opener shortly before the interval when Hallett beat right back Strong but hit a shot from a tight angle against the outside of the post.

And only the woodwork denied them again on the stroke of half time as Harris stood up a cross to the back post and Nicky Cowley headed against the bar.

There was still time for Lewes to carve out the best chance of the half as Nathan Crabb crossed for the arriving Schaff to head agonisingly wide of the angle of post and bar.

Concord took the lead two minutes after the restart as Harris sent in a vicious cross from the left and Hallett headed the ball powerfully down and in past the despairing dive of Kieron Thorp for his 24th goal of the season.

And the Beachboys continued to turn the screw with Harris curling a direct free-kick wide, and then Hallett and Elmes both firing past the upright.

Hallett continued to menace the home defence and when he stole the ball of Brinkhurst and played it into the path of Gordon he should have scored, but he side-footed it straight at Thorp.

But Concord made the points safe seven minutes from time as Harry Elmes' cute through ball put Gordon in on goal and this time he made no mistake as he slid the ball under the advancing Thorp and in to the net.

It became 3-0 in the first minute of injury time as a flowing team move ended with James Elmes squaring for fellow sub Danny Spendlove to side foot home.

Concord (4-4-2): Lovelock; Lampe, Easterford, White, Glozier; Gordon, Cowley, Stokes, Harris (Spendlove 76); Hallett (J Elmes 77), H Elmes (Robinson 87).

Echo MOM: Nicky Cowley (Concord Rangers).

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