New Colney Heath boss delighted at positives despite Welwyn defeat

Ant Burns says the step into management at Colney Heath was the natural progression for him.

Ant Burns says the step into management at Colney Heath was the natural progression for him. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

A change in manager at Colney Heath almost brought an instant change of fortune as they fell to a narrow and undeserved defeat at Welwyn Garden City.

Ryan Thompson resigned on Sunday after the 2-1 defeat to Wantage Town, a result which moved the Oxfordshire side off the bottom and dumped the Magpies there instead.

The committee instantly decided to promote number two Ant Burns and with an almost new-look side, Colney came within 10 minutes of a famous victory, eventually falling to another 2-1 defeat.

And while replacing his mentor was bitter-sweet, Burns was delighted with the application of his players at Herns Lane.

He said: "I’ve been with Thommo for years. He brought me to Colney Heath and I’ve been with him as a player. I’ve learned so much from him over the years on the other side of the line. 

"But [management] is the natural progression and it’s my natural instinct. I want to challenge myself and this is a challenge. 

"The committee have given me their full backing and I’ve had good luck messages galore from previous managers I’ve played under and other local football enthusiasts. 

"We had a few fans at Welwyn, I spotted a few familiar faces, and hopefully they’ll be pleased with what they saw. 

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"We’ve set a standard now and so have these boys so it is on the next game now, North Leigh away, which doesn’t get any harder."

Bailey Stevenson had fired the Mags into a fifth-minute lead after a quick and incisive break, started by a throw from goalkeeper Tiernan Parker to Carlos Simao.

It looked like it would be enough until George Ironton equalised on 80 minutes with Matty Campbell-Mhlope bagging the winner two minutes later.

The result though was almost secondary to the display after three tumultuous days.

But with the safety mark in the Southern League Division One Central just five points away, and a little under two-thirds of the season still to go, hope is bubbling to the surface at the Recreation Ground that they will retain their step four status come April.

Burns 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."