FA Youth Cup exit just a blip for exciting and talented young Magpies says former Watford and Burnley star

Joe Newton controls the ball in the match between Arlesey Town and Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

Joe Newton controls the ball in the match between Arlesey Town and Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Colney Heath U18s’ run in the FA Youth Cup came to an end in tough circumstances with a 5-2 defeat at home to Leverstock Green but manager Gifton Noel-Williams still insists there is plenty to be excited about.

The young Magpies were up against it from the start with goalkeeper Alex Gates succumbing to a virus just over an hour before kick-off.

It meant full-back Ernesto Rodriguez pulling on the gloves and he made a good fist of what was clearly an uncomfortable experience.

And Colney were still level until the final 20 minutes, having twice took the lead through Josh Smith, after just 42 seconds, and Lejhai Henriques.

But Noel-Williams, the former Watford and Burnley striker, believes this is just a blip for an exciting group of footballers.

He said: “The boys are talented and it lets me give them some detail, some understanding and a bit of knowledge.

“Playing U18s is a lot different to playing in the men’s game and things you can get away with here, you can’t there.

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“But there’s a lot of talent here and over the next few years, a lot of them will be creeping into the first team and doing well.

“It’s good time for the club.”

The final 20 minutes saw Levy run away with it leading to a final score that left the Colney boss slightly aggrieved.

He said: “It’s not the right result for the game but that’s football.

“When you lose you’re goalkeeper an hour before the game, it makes life difficult but I thought the boys done well in general.

“We use our goalkeeper a lot with the way we want to play and he’s got a good range of passing and he sets the tone.

“Losing knowing that if we had our goalkeeper it would have been a different game is a bit gutting.

“Not just for me but for the boys as well as they’re the ones who are out there. I’m on the sidelines shouting out instructions so it’s easy for me.

“But it’s frustrating for them as they know the way we want to play and this wasn’t as fluid as we have been playing.

“It sounds silly to say our attack starts with our goalie but the way we’re trying to play, it really does.

“It’s life really but these are young men and who trying to learn and trying to develop and they will brush this off.”