Southern League Division One Central
Alex Solomon (pen) 24, Larry Balogun 48, Guerin Nimi 73
Roger James 6, Ben Brown 37
Colney Heath finish on a high with last day win over North Leigh
- Credit: NEIL METCALFE
Colney Heath's stay in the Southern League came to an end after a year - but the final game of the season did at least bring a much-deserved victory over North Leigh.
Alex Solomon, Larry Balogun and Guerin Nimi struck the decisive goals as they won 3-2, ensuring they finished second from bottom of the Division One Central table.
The result, coupled with Welwyn Garden City's win at Kidlington, meant that the Oxfordshire side missed out on a place in the play-offs.
It was a season which started with great optimism for Colney but floundered early on and despite a manager change before Christmas, they weren't able to transform their fortunes.
That said, the Magpies will take a lot out of the year and from this final contest too, although the first of them will be not to give soft free-kicks away on the edge of the box.
Solomon did that six minutes in as the experienced Jefferson Louis backed into him and the resultant set-piece was drilled round the wall and into the far corner by Roger James.
But a handball gave Solomon the perfect chance to redeem himself and he did in style, despite a fracas delaying his taking of it and resulting in bookings for Aaron Hudson and Jordan Alves.
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Each side ended up with two bookings in the first period and that was roughly the chances on target too.
Larry Balogun forced Adam North into pushing a shot against the grain round the post while a Louis effort on the spin headed over the top, past the new turnstile and off in the direction of his old stomping ground at Clarence Park.
But North Leigh had their noses back in front with another goal that would have disappointed Colney boss Ant Burns.
It came from a corner out on the right that came all the way across to an unmarked Ben Brown at the back stick, the defender finishing despite the attentions of Andrew Whorms on the post.
Balogun should have scored inside the opening 60 seconds of the half but as he tried to take it round the keeper, North stuck out a hand and kept them out.
But he wasn't to be denied long and when Brown left a long ball forward, the big striker nipped in to head the ball over the keeper before rolling it into an empty net.
Brown's day looked to be over when he committed a foul two minutes later. He had already been booked in the first half and it seemed as if a second yellow would be following.
It didn't and North Leigh responded by immediately substituting him.
With news of the goals flying in for Welwyn at Kidlington, North Leigh looked more and more disillusioned. The way Colney were piling into them though was perhaps more of a reason for the total switch in momentum
Balogun tried to lift one over North but didn't get the connection right and the ball sailed away from goal.
But Colney were still on top and deservedly took the lead with 17 minutes to go with a quick break that was shifted out to the right for Nimi.
He took a touch before smashing it low across North and into the far corner.
The wind was taken slightly out of their sails by a horrible clash of heads that left Peter Mokwenye motionless on the ground.
Fortunately, after six minutes, he was able to get back to his feet, albeit very gingerly, and with the help of two Colney Heath staff, he was able to head slowly off the pitch.
The added time did see the play go more in the direction of the home goal but Tiernan Parker and his defence was able to deal with anything that came their way.
Balogun was also doing superbly well up front to hold the ball up when it came to him
And after 10 minutes of stoppage time the ref blew for full-time, much to the delight of the home support.
Colney Heath: Parker, Whorms, Mokwenye (Gleeson 86), Pascoe, Solomon, Mace, Nimi, Jessop, Balogun, Hudson (Shepherd 75), Hepburn.
Subs (not used): Griffin, Sawaneh, Brockwell
Goals: Solomon (pen) 24, Balogun 48, Nimi 73
Booked: Hudson 24, Solomon 33, Balogun 72
North Leigh: North, McCreadie, Hopkins (Williams 54), Nash, Carnell, Brown (Gunn 50), James, Awadh, Louis, Alves (Heap 77), Thomas.
Subs (not used): Woodley, Dore.
Goals: James 6, Brown 37
Booked: Alves 24, Brown 26
HT: Colney Heath 1 North Leigh 2
Referee: Stuart Kyle (Cramlington, Northumberland)