Woods salvages deserved draw for Colney Heath after better second half at Newport Pagnell Town
PUBLISHED: 23:35 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 23:35 10 December 2019
Colney Heath finally hit the top of the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division - even if the 1-1 draw at Newport Pagnell Town wasn't exactly a show-stopping way to do it.
But considering the way the evening had begun, and who their hosts were, it is a point they will be glad to have claimed.
Jack Woods came off the bench at half-time to equalise after Jimmy Burnside had fired the Swans into a first-half lead.
And the longer the game went on, the more it looked like the Magpies would be the side who could take all three points.
They still had some drama to overcome in added time but they will now look towards Christmas and the New Year with even more confidence.
For a game that featured the teams second and fourth in the league, this took a while to get going.
And for Colney Heath it took over 45 minutes.
They struggled to find any sort of rhythm especially when it came to moving the ball or keeping hold of it.
An effort from George Devine early on that was kicked away by Nick Bennion in the home goal was their only real chance of the half.
At the other end keeping their feet on the greasy surface proved just as problematic.
Sam Doolan was the first to slip and it allowed Sam Olawale to get in down the right. Fortunately his pull-back wasn't good enough.
Mickey Shuttlewood was the next to hit the deck on the opposite flank, freeing Jake Stronge to run in on goal. This time Connor Sansom's dive and fingertip save was required to divert the ball behind.
The Swans were still looking the more likely to score and if Colney needed evidence of that a first-time shot from Burnside that whistled past Sansom and off the inside of the post should have provided it.
Four minutes later the goal came.
Danny May couldn't wrestle the ball out of a tackle by the byline and when it was pulled back, Burnside swept it home, Sansom's hand on the shot only taking the power off it as it rolled inside the post.
It was obvious something needed changing at half-time and manager Ryan Thompson decided it was a formation change and the introduction of Woods.
Within 10 minutes the switch had paid dividends.
The forward had already caused trouble down the flanks but it was through the middle where the damage was done and after wriggling into space he fired low to Bennion's right.
A lull through the middle of the half was eventually brought to an end by a strong finish by the visitors.
Jon Clements fired two efforts inches wide while Chris Griffin was also just off target with a long-range effort that whistled over the top.
Newport were never out of it though and the Colney hearts were in their collective mouth with a late tackle in the box saw Jamaine Ivy go to ground.
Fortunately the referee said the ball had been won and moments later he brought the contest at a wet and windy Willen Road to a close.
Both sides if they were being honest would have been happy with their points too.
Colney now lead Tring Athletic by that one point but still have one game in hand.
Newport Pagnell meanwhile have jumped back up to third at the expense of Harpenden Town.
Colney Heath: Sansom, May, Knaggs, Shuttlewood (Woods 46, Westmore 89), Doolan, Griffin, Lewis, Cobb, Clements, Clarke-Mardel, Devine (O'Connor 61).
Sub (not used): Fitzgerald.
Goal: Woods 55
Booked: Knaggs 24
Newport Pagnell Town: Bennion, Smith, Parrish, Smail, Davison-Gordon, Guiney, Olawale, Lyon (Don 81), Burnside, Ivy (O'Farrell 90+1), Stronge.
Subs (not used): Olusewu, Hulks, Willett.
Goal: Burnside 38
Booked: Burnside 71
HT: Newport Pagnell Town 1 Colney Heath 0