There was still plenty of pride and positivity to take for Colney Heath manager Matt Day, despite seeing a four-game winning run come to an end at Harpenden Town.

A solitary second-half goal from Reece Crowter, just before the hour, was enough to hand Harps a 1-0 victory in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.

But the way they responded to going a goal down, as well as the previous sequence of victories, means the boss cannot be too downhearted.

Day said: "I said to the lads in the changing room that there's ways to lose matches and still be proud. 

"And they can be proud of what they tried to achieve because I thought we were dominant for long periods. 

"We did go a goal down and it's sloppy defending, he’s got a free header at the back post, but as soon as that goal went in, all of a sudden the tide turned and we started believing we could go and get the equaliser. 

"Their goalkeeper has pulled out of a worldie to keep them in it [tipping a Jamie Fulton shot onto the bar] and we’ve put the rebound in but they've said it was offside so we have to go with the referee’s decision. 

"I’m a bit deflated that we couldn't get that goal to give us a point or even take three.

"But we're proud of what we've done over the last four games and this is another one where I can pick out a load of positives. 

The reason for the upturn in fortunes, the Magpies had suffered seven defeats in eight matches from the middle of September into November, is a simple one to explain for the boss - time.

He said: "It was a brand-new squad and it takes time for them to gel and for them to sort of respect each other as part of the group.  

"What’s happened is we have taken that time since the start of the season where we've had players come in and go out and we’re settling down a little bit now. 

"There were signs of good performances in some of those losses as well but then it turned. 

"We’ve played some good teams over that four-game spell and we come up against a decent Harpenden team too. 

"They're sixth in the league and that's where we should be competing, that area of the table. 

"We're only a few points off anyway."

And with Heath now into the second half of the season, that improvement is what the boss is basing his goals on for the remainder of the campaign.

He said: "The challenge for the lads now is to have a better second-half to the season than we had in the first, and I think the first half of the season wasn’t too bad. 

"My expectations for them are pretty high but I'm confident."