Just when it looked as if Fleet’s play-off challenge had taken a turn for the better, the lights went out on Steve Brown’s squad – literally. It recalled a similar incident on a previous occasion when Fleet were battling for promotion and in the same part of the world with the same scoreline – back in 2002 when Fleet led Canvey Island 2-0 and the power failed then, too.
Two goals to the good courtesy of strikes from Ben May and a majestic volley from Daryl McMahon, either side of half-time, several of Concord Rangers’ floodlights then went out, plunging the Aspect Arena into semi-darkness. The referee instructed the players to leave the field and held out for more than 20 minutes to see if the power would come back on. But with that likelihood fading, the game was abandoned, much to the frustration of Fleet players, staff and fans.
Fleet had begun with Dean Rance returned to the starting line-up, Alex Osborn dropping out, while Stacy Long’s return from a loan spell at Eastbourne saw him back on the bench. The visitors started well and a good move on 15 minutes involving Billy Bricknell and Anthony Cook saw a cross fall to Ben May who did well to take the ball down and fire home to give Fleet the lead.
Concord roared back and twice hit the post as they applied pressure on the Fleet goal for the remainder of the half and Preston Edwards was called into action on a number of occasions. But Fleet weathered the storm and hit the woodwork themselves on the stroke of half-time, Cook’s long-range free-kick marking the post.
Better – and then worse – was to come immediately after half-time. As he did against Sutton, McMahon popped up with a goal – and what a goal – powering home Preston Edwards’ long kick to send Fleet into a seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead. But within two minutes, Michael Corcoran received a straight and somewhat harsh red card for a high tackle. Spectators hardly had time to catch their breath… at least until the lights went out and then they had a good 25 fruitless minutes to wait until abandonment.
There is no confirmation as yet about the date for this game to be replayed, being that Concord face four games over the Easter holiday and into the final weekend of the season. We will confirm as soon as news is available.