Cooper brace settles the battle of the Colneys

Cooper on target twice as Colney Heath beat London Colney

Challenge Trophy

London Colney 0 Colney Heath 2

TWO goals from Ian Cooper settled this competitive local derby in favour of Colney Heath at Cotlandswick on Tuesday evening.

The Magpies’ forward struck in the 33rd and 58th minutes to settle the tie after London Colney passed up several opportunities to change the outcome.

Chances were at a premium early on but the game opened up and former Colney Heath forward Aaron Clarke missed a glorious opportunity to put the Blueboys ahead. Mark Paradise’s pass forward looked easy enough for the visiting defence to cut out but somehow the ball found its way through to Clarke who broke the offside trap but fired straight at goalkeeper Billy Barnes.

The Magpies then began to build pressure and it came as no surprise when ace poacher Cooper pounced on a mistake to break the deadlock. Centre-half Steve Barker went forward in an attempt to flick on a long throw in and as the ball sailed towards the far post Cooper pounced on a slip by a Blueboys defender to stab the ball past the despairing dive of goalkeeper Mark Whittamore.

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One so very nearly became two but Magpies’ midfielder Jamie Eames saw his free kick from 20 yards smash off the inside of the upright with Jason Williams unable to turn the rebound home.

The home side looked to catch Colney Heath napping after the interval when Clarke skilfully turned his man and teed up Danny Fitzgerald for an early opening but the winger shot first time over Barnes’ crossbar.

The decisive goal came just before the hour mark and came courtesy of an brilliant piece of individualism from Cooper. Eames, so often the artisan in everything good the Magpies did, lobbed the ball across the face of the 18-yard box for Cooper to chase. The centre forward still had lots to do but his first touch was excellent, killing the ball and turning his man all in one move, before jinking past the covering defender and drilling the ball low past Whittamore from just inside the penalty area.

The Blueboys, with promotion from Division One their priority this term, had rested star strike-force Jimmy Warner and Matt Newman but decided now was time to call on them in an attempt to salvage something from the game.

Colney Heath centre-half Daniel Staples had to be alert to turn Danny McCafferty’s inviting cross behind with Warner ready to pounce before Saturday’s goalscoring hero spurned a fantastic opening.

Again the Magpies’ offside trap was suspect as Warner was allowed the freedom of the left wing to latch onto a long pass and drive into the penalty area but Barnes held his nerve and stood big and Warner shot straight at the goalkeeper.

London Colney; Whittamore; Thompson, Murphy (Hull), Paradise, McCafferty; Fitzgerald, Shaw, Sutton, Hutchinson; Thomas (Newman), Clarke (Warner).

Colney Heath; Barnes; Gilbert, Staples, Barker � (Taylor), Corran; Renphrey, Coombs (Costain), Williams, Eames; I Cooper.

Att: 81