Late drama sees Colney Heath clinch the win at Arlesey Town
- Credit: Archant
Two goals inside the last 10 minutes saw Colney Heath grab a come-from-behind 3-2 victory at Arlesey Town.
Harry Shepherd had put them in front but goals from Derek Feyi and Jalen Miller had seemingly put the hosts on course for the three points.
However, there was a sting in the tail and after Hadley Gleeson had levelled on 81 minutes, skipper Danny Fitzgerald fired in the winner with two minutes to go.
Both sides had gone into the game on the back of victories in their opening Spartan South Midlands League Premier Divison games on Saturday and passions ran high at times.
There will be plenty of positives for Arlesey to take but for Colney, a much-changed side from the one that should have been crowned champions last year, it shows the winning mentality and never-say-die spirit is still alive and well.
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Arlesey shaded the first half, certainly in terms of possession, but shots were limited and the ones that were crafted in the early stages fell to the visitors.
George Devine had the two best ones. The first saw him get in behind the defence but under pressure from Jack Ellwood he fired high and wide.
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The second was down to sheer persistence and after the ball bounced loose, and with both the striker and the keeper on the ground, Devine swung a leg and knocked it goalwards.
Fortunately for Arlesey the ball was deflected wide and from the resulting corner Sean McMonagle nodded inches wide.
The goal when it arrived was a beauty though.
Harry Lewis raced down the left wing and although his cross took a deflection on its way over, it fell perfectly for Shepherd who struck it beautifully into the corner past the sprawling Louie Miracco.
But the response from the hosts was good and they put plenty of pressure on the Colney defence.
Matty Evans was relatively untroubled, mostly thanks to some excellent blocks from his defence, but one of those attempted shot stoppers caused Arlesey to draw level.
Feyi had stayed up after a corner and when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box his shot took a huge and wicked deflection off Jay Lovell, sending Evans the wrong way and bouncing into the net.
As he had done in the FA Cup match against New Salamis, Colney manager Ryan Thompson made a double change at the break, bringing on Gleeson and Sean Walsh for Chris Griffin and Kyle Rahho.
However, unlike that occasion in Haringey which was for tactictal reasons, this one was out of necessisty after both departing players picked up injuries.
Gleeson did bring some initial energy but the game took a little while to get going after the break.
That said Lewis and Will McClelland both sent efforts wide for Colney while Arlesey could and probably should have scored following a free-kick that was swung into the box.
Boyan Dimov was in the thick of it but the final touch from the hosts was to lash the ball wide from six yards.
They had better luck just past the hour though.
It was another scrappy goal in the sense that the build-up saw a tackle and a poke of the ball from Colney run to Miller on the edge of the box
The finish was very clever though. He was heading left but he managed to hook the ball right, leaving Evans stranded and the ball nestled in the bottom corner.
Arlesey continued to pass it around as they threatened to add a third and Colney responded by bringing Bailey Stevenson on in attempt to add some extra firepower.
It took 10 minutes to bear fruit.
A Sean McMonagle header was tipped over and from the resulting corner, it fell to Gleeson inside the six-yard-box and he rifled the ball into the roof of the net.
But the game wasn’t done and after great work from Devine to first hold the ball up and then work it across the box, it was given to Fitzgerald.
One touch and he rifled the ball into the bottom corner.
Colney then did what Arlesey couldn’t and saw the game out with relatively little drama.
Arlesey Town: Miracco, Lamond, Ellwood, Randall, Feyi, Di Brito, Gilmartin, Dimov, Miller (Ellis 88), Richardson, Alves (Isles 76).
Subs (not used): Packham, Fernandes, Daley.
Goals: Feyi 38, Miller 62
Booked: Feyi 29
Colney Heath: Evans, Jessop, Lewis, McClelland, Lovell, Rahho (Walsh 46), Griffin (Gleeson 46), Fitzgerald, Devine, McMonagle, Shepherd (Stevenson 71).
Sub (not used): Todd.
Goals: Shepherd 21, Gleeson 81, Fitzgerald 87
Booked: Stevenson 90+1
HT: Arlesey Town 1 Colney Heath 1
Referee: Tom Cartwright (Stevenage)