Our end of season report on what was still a historic year for Colney Heath
PUBLISHED: 10:36 21 April 2020
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.
Team name: Colney Heath
Division: SSML Premier Division
Final position: 1st (30 of 40 games played)
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And they should go on and prove it again.
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