Ant Burns banking on hope and better performances to drag Colney Heath out of trouble

Ryan Thompson's resignation as manager of Colney Heath led to Ant Burns' promotion to the hot seat.

Ryan Thompson's resignation as manager of Colney Heath led to Ant Burns' promotion to the hot seat. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Hope is the kryptonite of everyone in football, always designed it seems to build you up before knocking you down.

And yet although that is the overriding emotion as a new era begins at Colney Heath, there is a sense that for once this hope will end positively.

Defeat at home to Wantage Town on Saturday moved the Oxfordshire club off the bottom of the Southern League Division One Central table and dumped the Magpies in their place, with one win and one draw from 13 games.

It led to the resignation of manager Ryan Thompson and also saw senior players such as Jack Woods and Jon Clements depart the club.

But the committee moved quickly, promoting number two Ant Burns to the role, and his first game at Welwyn Garden City just a few days later brought a huge amount of positivity, despite the undeserved 2-1 loss.

Kamal McEwan is one of the new players at Colney Heath who manager Ant Burns has high hopes for.

Kamal McEwan is one of the new players at Colney Heath who manager Ant Burns has high hopes for. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Burns said: "Obviously a lot has happened over the last two or three days, it has been a short period of time just to try and get things sorted, but I couldn’t be prouder of the lads. 

"We’ve said the performances are the main thing, we can put the results aside because if the performances become better then the results will come. 

"That’s what we have to focus on. 

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"It is pretty well-known that we’ve had some senior players leave but we had to try something new. We couldn’t keep doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. 

"We had to change something. 

"It’s been a whirlwind three days and I’ve sold a different vision to the committee a little bit. 

"They are over the moon and fully backing me, which is great, and the lads have repaid us, the management staff and the committee, with the performance against Welwyn. 

"The endeavour, the fight, the spirit – it's all there and I couldn’t really ask for more." 

Harry Lewis was back in the Colney Heath starting line-up against Colney Heath.

Harry Lewis was back in the Colney Heath starting line-up against Colney Heath. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

For the moment the goal is making the performances better, but Burns says by doing that the results will follow and with safety a mere five points away at the minute, he is confident they can avoid relegation.

He said: "We’ve got three games in quick succession. This wasn’t a positive result but the performance was brilliant. 

"They have set a standard now and there is still 24 more games to go. There are so many points to play for. 

"[The WGC game] will give the lads confidence, it gives us confidence, and who knows? 

"We’re not too far off and we should be aiming higher really but that is the objective. 

"I’ve said in the dressing room that I don’t want to use the R word again and again. 

"For me, we aim higher by doing the best performances that we can and obviously the points will come with it. 

"We’ve got players to come back in and we’ve got access to the reserves who are doing so well [in the Herts Senior County League]. 

"I couldn’t be prouder of the lads. They’re buzzing, bit disappointed because of the two quick goals but we probably created more chances in that 90 minutes than we have in the previous 10 games."

Tiernan Parker of Haringey Borough during Haringey Borough vs Potters Bar Town, Pitching In Isthmian

Tiernan Parker has moved from Haringey Borough to Colney Heath. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

The squad on Tuesday at Herns Lane saw plenty of unfamiliar names line up the club's yellow change kit. 

Some of them like 20-year-old Carlos Simao, brought in from Tooting & Mitcham United after spells with Cockfosters and Oxhey Jets, look like they could bring an exciting dynamic to the Magpies.

Burns said: "We have been screaming out for a player who looks comfortable in one-on-one attacking situations who can take someone on and do something. 

"We were quite fortunate in that he was a friend of a friend of someone at the club but we were quick to get him in. 

"It was his first full 90 against Welwyn and he’s repaid us and he’s only going to get better as we get fitter and work more together as a team. 

"Kamal McEwen has been with us for a few months but he is a quality player. 

"His fitness could be improved but that goes for the whole team. 

"That’s what we want to do. We want to add quality in key areas and I think we’ve done that. 

"We’ve brought Tejon Brown in and Tiernan Parker in and his distribution as a goalkeeper is brilliant. 

"We’re heading in the right direction and long may it continue. 

"Hopefully we can get a few more points and start climbing the table."