FA Cup woe for Colneys

Clarke-Mardell fires in the opening goal for London Colney

Clarke-Mardell fires in the opening goal for London Colney - Credit: Archant

THE FA CUP has not been kind to Colney Heath and London Colney as both teams fell at the first hurdle in the Extra Preliminary rounds.

Ryan Thompson hands out some pointers

Ryan Thompson hands out some pointers - Credit: Archant

The Magpies were knocked out by Hertford on Saturday after a shock 2-1 loss at Hertingfordbury Park, while the Blueboys lost a replay against AFC Rushden & Diamonds following a 1-1 draw at home– Spencer Mardle-Clarke scoring the goal.

The game started well for the Blueboys with Matt Newman showing the pace to beat defenders.

It was his pace that got him into two scoring opportunities in the first half, but both went begging as Tom Cross saved.

Clarke-Mardell broke the deadlock to give Colney a deserved lead, putting away Martin Collins’ pass.

In the second half, Newman picked up an early knock and the Blueboys lost their ability to stretch the field.

As a result, they became camped in their own half and Diamonds were able to pass the ball freely. While enjoying the lion’s share of the possession they did little to trouble Mark Whittamore.

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It took an outstanding goal from Joe Merril to level the game. The right-back connected sweetly with a cleared ball from a corner and smashed it into the net.

Diamonds were in the ascendency but couldn’t find another goal as London Colney defended resolutely to earn a draw.

The replay in Northamptonshire did not go in Ryan Thompson’s favour as his side were outclassed, going on to lose 6-1 to the United Counties League Premier Division side.

The Blueboys’ boss was seething after the heavy loss, calling it an “embarrassment.

“On Saturday I though the lads played really well and I was disappointed we didn’t win it at home; we created the chances and were the better side for large parts of the game,” he told the Herts Ad.

“In the second half, Diamonds sussed us out and their goal was a worldie; no one was to blame. But [Tuesday] was embarrassing.

“We conceded after 30 seconds and everything we wanted to do went out the window. We believed in our own hype and that was our problem; the lads let themselves down.”

He added: “There are no excuses for the performance; it was very sobering. I just hope it was a one-off because if there’s more of that then I don’t know where we go from here.

“Hopefully we’ll bounce straight back.”

Wes Awad, Heath’s new manager, was equally as disappointed to exit the world’s oldest club competition, a tournament that can be financially lucrative for smaller clubs.

“We started the game really well and Aaron Clarke put us one up,” he said.

“They pulled a goal back and we lost our composure, our discipline and couldn’t close the game.

“Their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves, though; it just wasn’t our day. We didn’t react well to conceding, although I think we at least deserved a replay.”

Colney Heath started the season in blistering form with two 4-0 wins, leading many to proclaim them championship contenders; a title Awad thinks is premature.

“We started really well and we started getting a reputation as contenders but we haven’t earned that,” he explained.

“We just need to focus on the next two games and get on a run. I believe you make your own luck in football and I’m confident we can get results on Saturday [against Harefield United] and Tuesday [against Biggleswade United].”