Players must listen to instructions says Colney Heath boss after Harpenden loss

Harpenden Town recorded an opening day win over Colney Heath.

Harpenden Town recorded an opening day win over Colney Heath. - Credit: FREDDIE CLARK

Colney Heath manager Ant Burns was left hugely frustrated after his players failed to follow the instructions in an opening day loss to Harpenden Town.

Jake Tabor got the only goal of the game in the first half as the Magpies' return to the Spartan South Midlands League ended in a 1-0 defeat.

And the boss said a lot of the problems stemmed from playing to the home team's strengths.

He said: "We gave them clear instructions because the pitch is hard and bobbly and you can’t get caught over-playing but we did that in the first half. 

"We passed the buck as I say, passed the ball to a player who was too close and it is easy to press then. 

"We got caught in a trap of playing to their strengths. 

"There wasn’t a lot of open chances and it wasn’t a good game to watch but they took their chance and we didn’t. 

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"It’s game one and we go again on Saturday." 

Conor Sansom smothers the ball to stop a Harpenden Town attack.

Conor Sansom smothers the ball to stop a Harpenden Town attack. - Credit: FREDDIE CLARK

Saturday won't be much easier with a trip to Southern League Hertford Town in the FA Cup extra preliminary round.

The Blues manager and former St Albans City defender, Ben Herd, was in the crowd at Rothamsted Park but Burns still thinks his side can cause an upset, providing they heed the advice of the coaching staff.

He said: "We played them a couple of times last year so we know a little bit about what they can do. 

"But for us we just have to apply the instructions we gave to the lads. 

"That was probably the biggest disappointment [against Harpenden]. We didn’t apply what we wanted to do and it wasn’t carried out for large parts of the game. 

"For me, that’s the biggest concern. 

"We are just going to have to reiterate the message on Saturday again. Where are we strong? What can we do off the ball? How can we affect the game better? 

"There is no time to feel sorry for ourselves. It is only natural to do so, it’s the first game of the season and a derby, but the games come thick and fast and there are no bigger matches than the FA Cup."