Polar opposite reactions for Colney Heath and Harpenden management
PUBLISHED: 15:37 23 December 2018
The mood of the two managers couldn't have been more different after Colney Heath's 3-1 win at Harpenden Town.
While Magpies’ boss Ryan Thompson was delighted with his side’s efforts at Rothamsted Park, Danny Plumb cut a glum figure at the conclusion of the game.
Colney had taken the lead on 21 minutes when Andy Sears-Black fired in a rebound after his first effort was blocked on the line but Harps made sure they were level by half-time in similar fashion.
Will McClelland was first to the loose ball this time after Charlie May had produced a fantastic stop to deny the first effort.
And for 15 minutes after the interval the hosts piled forward with chances galore and plenty of dangerous balls into the box.
But just as it seemed as if they would press home their advantage, Colney pounced with Harry Shepherd winning the ball in midifeld and setting Harvey Scott away to score.
Kyle McLeish was given a straight red card nine minutes later and Shepherd himself completed the scoring with a header six minutes from time.
Thompson felt the game swung on the performance of striker and debutant Chris Blunden.
He said: “The difference when you have someone like Chris is he gives you an outlet and we haven’t had that all season.
“He occupied the back four and was superb and that’s what we’ve been missing.
What Chris did in 10 minutes was more than what we’ve done all season.
“That’s not the fault of the lads who have been up there but it’s not their natural game.
“It suited us better too as it allows Harvey Scott to drop deeper and get on the ball and play his football and we scored at the right time.
“I couldn’t ask for much more.”
Plumb, however, wants the game to act as a catalyst for better performances from his new-look squad.
“I thought we were getting on top in the first 20 minutes of the second half,” he said.
“When things are going well you get the rub, when things aren’t, you don’t and we’re not getting it at the moment.
“An individual error has killed us but when you go behind against an experienced team like that, you will struggle to get back in it.
“I’m bitterly disappointed.
“We won so many games by the odd goal last year and this year we’re not nicking those close games.
“There’s no point moaning about it, we need to work harder.”
Colney were rocked in the week when talented 17-year-old Joe Newton chose to accept a move to Royston Town but there are plenty more waiting in the wings at the Recreation Ground.
One of those is goalscorer Shepherd with Thompson certain that the young midfielder is well on the way to having an excellent career, even if this contest wasn’t always plain sailing for him.
The boss said: “That central midfield spot will be his position in three or four years time but you could see they were getting at us through there.
“But he’s only 17 and they are a physically strong side and on a heavy pitch, it didn’t suit him.
“So it wasn’t quite working for him but when we swapped it and put Jack Woods in there, who’s got more of a physical presence, Sheps found more space out wide where he could use his footballing ability.
“And he gave us that bit of quality in the right areas of the pitch.”