Colney Heath triumph leaves proud boss lost for words

Colney Heath, the winners of the 2018 Herts Charity Shield. Picture: STEPH WHITAKER

Colney Heath, the winners of the 2018 Herts Charity Shield. Picture: STEPH WHITAKER - Credit: Archant

For those who know him this may come as a shock but Colney Heath’s magnificent 2-0 victory over Welwyn Garden City to lift the Herts Charity Shield almost rendered manager Ryan Thompson speechless.

The management team at Colney Heath celebrate with the Herts Charity Shield. Picture: NICK SANDERS

The management team at Colney Heath celebrate with the Herts Charity Shield. Picture: NICK SANDERS - Credit: Archant

He was still trying to organise his thoughts some 20 minutes after his battling side upset the formbook with a deserved success.

But one thing did come through loud and clear – the pride he had for his players.

He said: “It’s been a tough season. There have been many highs that have been brilliant but the lows have been really low.

“But they were all brilliant.

Colney Heath's Sam Doolan. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Colney Heath's Sam Doolan. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

“The keeper has pulled off two worldies but then at the other end we’ve hit the crossbar, we’ve had a couple of scrambles ourselves so on the balance of it, maybe we deserved it, I don’t know. It’s a tough one.

“It was certainly a lot closer than the 2-0 says.

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“Callum Dudrenec is a left-back but we put him in at centre-half because Harry Sedgley is cup-tied. That meant putting Dan Power, who is a right-back, on the left.

“So we were jiggling it around at the back a bit but for someone to come in at centre half, having only played there once in his life, Callum was brilliant.

“Little Joe Newton, he’s only 16-years-old but he’s so clever; running the clock down at the end by taking it into the corner, knows when to clear his lines, knows when to play.

“But for all the good things, I feel absolutely gutted for the subs.

“Isa [Rotimi] is another who is 16 and has been absolutely amazing for us but it wasn’t the game to bring them on.

“Jimmy Hill was absolutely blowing after about 65 minutes but we needed him to come back and defend set-pieces.

“We knew in those last 10 minutes everything was going to be thrown at us and he made a couple of great blocks.

“I don’t know, it’s just a great feeling.”

But while there were plenty of big performances from the black and white heroes, Thompson paid tribute to one in particular, captain Sam Doolan.

“Sam came to Colney Heath last year when we looked like we were going down,” said the boss.

“I know he came on the back of an injury but when he came down to sign I said ‘are you sure’?

“I told him there were going to be a lot of dark times and he was too good for that.

“But he stuck around and helped us stay up.

“And he deserves so much credit because not many lads would have hung around like he did last year and work for us.

“He’s only 23, made a massive block in the first half from a Kersey header, but for him to stay like he did, he deserves every bit of success out there.

“To lift the trophy as captain of that side, he deserves it.

“That picture goes in the clubhouse now, that’s part of Colney Heath’s history, and anyone who looks at it will know Sam deserves it.

“I’ve got a lot of admiration for what he stuck through.”

The game itself was decided by a goal in each half.

Right-back Harry Lewis got the first with a stunning strike from a long way out that skipped past WGC keeper Charlie May and in off the post.

The second was tucked away by Joel Norris, who pounced on a loose ball following a coming together between May and Newton.

Newton also hit the crossbar and Hill the post while Steve Cunningham produced a number of incredible saves to stop the late City onslaught.

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