TONY Stokes paid tribute to his manager and teammates after netting his 100th competitive goal for Concord Rangers.
Stokes hit the landmark in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Eastbourne Borough, although the goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
And the 27-year-old striker said if it wasn’t for the contribution of Danny Cowley he may never have played football again, let alone struck 100 times for the south Essex Conference South side.
“Danny Cowley has always believed in me,” said Stokes, who arrived from Hungarian side Újpest FC in 2010. “I had lost my love for football and I lived abroad for a little bit but he helped me find that passion again. He took me under his wing and it is all down to him.”
“I have been here for four years now and scoring 100 goals in that time is pretty good going. I have a good goal ratio but that is down to the contributions of my teammates.
“It is a great feeling but it is a shame we are not talking about a winning goal in the last few minutes.”
The goal was Stokes’ first of the new season, having been stuck on 99 since the end of last campaign. And, like Canvey Island’s Jay Curran (who netted his 100th goal on the opening day of the season), he is now concentrating on building on that total.
“It had to come at some point,” laughed Stokes, who was regaled with a chorus of “wham-bam back-of-the-net man” by a die-hard fan at the final whistle.
“But it is nice to have reached it and now I want to look forward and focus on where the next goal will come from.”
Stokes said one goal that stood out, was in a 5-1 win against Met Police in November 2012.
“I enjoyed that day against Met Police” Stokes reminisces. “Funnily enough they had (Jamie) Butler in goal and I beat him from 25 yards with an overhead kick. That was a good feeling. I scored a hat-trick that day!”
Stokes is unavailable for Monday’s game at Hemel Hempstead Town, after picking up an ankle injury at the weekend but has faith his teammates will turn this poor run of form around soon.
“We want to stay up. We need to get a few points on the board as we don’t want to be playing catch-up but, with a bit of luck, that will come.”