Our end of season report on what was still a historic year for Colney Heath

PUBLISHED: 10:36 21 April 2020

Colney Heath V Tring Athletic - Brett O'Connor in action for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

Colney Heath V Tring Athletic - Brett O'Connor in action for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

With the football season over for all non-league club from step three down, Herts Advertiser sports reporter Neil Metcalfe reviewed the campaign for Colney Heath. Here’s his end-of-year report.

Colney Heath V London Lions - Spencer Clarke-Mardel in action for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V London Lions - Spencer Clarke-Mardel in action for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Team name: Colney Heath

Division: SSML Premier Division

Final position: 1st (30 of 40 games played)

Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Andy Sears-Black in action for Colney Heath.


Picture - Karyn Haddon.Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Andy Sears-Black in action for Colney Heath. Picture - Karyn Haddon.

FA Cup: First qualifying round (lost 3-1 at home to Corby Town)

FA Vase: Second round (lost 1-0 at home to Stowmarket Town)

Colney Heath V Tring Athletic - Jon Clements in action for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Tring Athletic - Jon Clements in action for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Season grade overall: A

This season for Colney Heath reminds me of the lyrics in the 1998 version of Three Lions: “It could have been all songs in the street; it was nearly complete; it was nearly so sweet”.

Nobody could have predicted the end to the campaign but in truth the only way Colney Heath were going to be denied the title and all the trappings that brings was an act of God.

Colney Heath V Baldock Town - Colney Heath celebrate a goal by Jon Clements 1-0.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Baldock Town - Colney Heath celebrate a goal by Jon Clements 1-0. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Nine straight wins at the start of the year set them on their way and they never looked back.

I would have given the season an A+ grade had it not been for a couple of slip-ups late on and a disappointing and early end to the FA Vase.

That they get to put those matters right (and get another chance to play at my own home-town team, Hebburn Town, in the Vase) will be the smallest crumb of comfort.

Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Danny Fitzgerald in action for Colney Heath.


Picture - Karyn Haddon.Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Danny Fitzgerald in action for Colney Heath. Picture - Karyn Haddon.

But nothing the FA or the coronavirus can do should detract from an excellent season, one of the best in club history.

Game of the season: Tring Athletic (home) - February 22

Harpenden Town V Colney Heath - Chris Griffin for Colney Heath battles with Chris Blunden for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden Town V Colney Heath - Chris Griffin for Colney Heath battles with Chris Blunden for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Colney Heath is usually a jovial and welcoming club but there was a noted seriousness when I stepped into the clubhouse 90 minutes before kick-off.

This mattered, this was hugely important and the raucous cheers on the final whistle after a 3-2 success told you everything.

It was the battle of the top two in the division and was seen as a title decider.

Colney Heath V London Lions - Ryan Thompson, manager of Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V London Lions - Ryan Thompson, manager of Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The Magpies had to do it the hard way too having taken the lead twice, Chris Blunden and Spencer Clarke-Mardel the scorers, only to gift Tring a way back in.

However, Clarke-Mardel pounced 12 minutes from time to claim the three points and for a month at least, it had all associated with the club dreaming of more glory.

Colney Heath V London Lions - Colney Heath celebrate.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V London Lions - Colney Heath celebrate. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Most pleasing player: Dominic Knaggs

This is not an award necessarily for the player of the season but for the one who brought me the most delight, and the progression made by the full-back was exactly what you want from a young player.

And he is still young, just 18 despite seemingly been around for years.

Colney Heath V Tring Athletic - Chris Blunden celebrates scoring for Colney Heath 1-0.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Tring Athletic - Chris Blunden celebrates scoring for Colney Heath 1-0. Picture: Karyn Haddon

He is learning fast though and the exposure to adult football at such a young age cannot be overstated.

Calm in defence and a willing and honest worker, he was rarely disappointing in a season where he started 25 times and made a further nine appearances from the bench.

At this rate of progression it won’t be long before clubs higher up the pyramid come calling.

Colney Heath V London Lions - Ryan Thompson, manager of Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V London Lions - Ryan Thompson, manager of Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Moment of the season: Tring Athletic away

It’s a strange thing to say but the moment of the season came on day one, way back on August 3.

Colney Heath V London Lions - Taylor Cobb in action for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V London Lions - Taylor Cobb in action for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The 2-1 win away at Tring paved the way for what would follow and the reason is simple, they probably didn’t deserve to win.

But they did and like all good champions who still manage to find a way to emerge victorious, the Magpies battled to the success with debut strikes from Jon Clements and Chris Griffin.

It gave them all the belief and confidence required to go on a tear and take a firm grasp on the division.

Colney Heath V Tring Athletic - The teams emerge from the tunnel before the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division clash.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Tring Athletic - The teams emerge from the tunnel before the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division clash. Picture: Karyn Haddon

What’s next?

The first task will be to ensure the mental strength of the side is intact and that they are ready to fight once again at the sharp end of the table.

Colney Heath V Baldock Town - Spencer Clarke-Mardel for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Baldock Town - Spencer Clarke-Mardel for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The pain of missing out will hurt, I feel it having championed the side since pre-season as one of the favourites and then watched as they rose to the challenge and the label so I can only imagine their frustration.

But this is a tight-knit group and a strong club. They know they have the quality among the ranks and if one or two extra bodies come in, you wouldn’t back against them.

They deserve to be champions and they deserve to be promoted.

Colney Heath V Baldock Town - Connor Sansom makes a save for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Baldock Town - Connor Sansom makes a save for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

And they should go on and prove it again.

Colney Heath V Tring Athletic - Jack Woods in action for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V Tring Athletic - Jack Woods in action for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Colney Heath V London Colney - George Devine celebrates scoring for Colney Heath 1-0.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V London Colney - George Devine celebrates scoring for Colney Heath 1-0. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Jack Woods for Colney Heath.


Picture - Karyn Haddon.Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Jack Woods for Colney Heath. Picture - Karyn Haddon.

Colney Heath V London Colney - George Devine for Colney Heath.


Picture: Karyn HaddonColney Heath V London Colney - George Devine for Colney Heath. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Jon Clements in action for Colney Heath.


Picture - Karyn Haddon.Colney Heath V Stowmarket Town - Jon Clements in action for Colney Heath. Picture - Karyn Haddon.

Harpenden Town V Colney Heath - Spencer Clarke-Mardel for Colney Heath battles with George Robinson for Harpenden Town.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden Town V Colney Heath - Spencer Clarke-Mardel for Colney Heath battles with George Robinson for Harpenden Town. Picture: Karyn Haddon


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