Late Cooper penalty settles thriller

Premier Division Cup Colney Heath 4 Royston Town 3 AET Colney Heath boss Scott Lacey thought Tuesday night s Premier Division Cup match against Royston Town was a great advert for the Spartans South Midlands Premier. Ian Cooper s penalty deep into ext

Premier Division Cup

Colney Heath 4

Royston Town 3


Colney Heath boss Scott Lacey thought Tuesday night's Premier Division Cup match against Royston Town was "a great advert" for the Spartans South Midlands Premier.

Ian Cooper's penalty deep into extra time ensured Colney Heath's safe passage into the next round to settle a seven-goal thriller against Paul Attfield's side.

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"I thought it was a great advert for the league and I thought both teams played the game at the right tempo," Lacey told The Herts Advertiser. "Both teams were a credit to themselves and we're obviously delighted to get into the next round."

Colney played like the league leaders they are and had the majority of possession in the first half and forced their visitors to defend resolutely.

There were few real chances created, though, and despite the seven goals on the scoreline come the end of this encounter, none were scored in a goalless first half.

At the break, Royston defender Danny Apostolos extended the visitors' injury list (they were already without regular 'keeper Jorden Gibson as well as full back Arin Fehmi and their stand-out winger Luke Robins), but his forced substitution brought Josh Bronti on to the pitch and the Royston striker made the most of his appearance by scoring a hat-trick.

The first of his goals came just four minutes after the break with an angled drive but, rather than kick them into life, Royston continued to defend and Colney deservedly equalised midway through the half when Cooper finished well with a one-on-one effort.

The game became open with both teams bringing good saves from their opposite goalkeeper's but with seven minutes remaining Bronti broke the offside trap to clip home over the 'keeper to put Royston in front.

With the minutes ticking away poor Royston defending from a corner allowed Lacey to head home an equaliser from eight yards in the 88th minute to send the game into extra time.

The hosts took the lead for the first time in the match on 97 minutes with another free header, this time by Jack Coombs, from a corner from 12 yards, but in reply Royston through more bodies forward and Bronti scrambled the ball home with six minutes remaining to complete his hat-trick.

Colney though hadn't read that script and when Royston gave the ball away setting up a counter-attack, a poor tackle in the area set up a definite penalty opportunity which Cooper converted to send the hosts into the quarter final.

Colney Heath were given a scare away at basement boys Welwyn on Saturday as they ran out 3-2 winners.

Goals from Cooper, Phil Jackman and an own goal gave them the points but Lacey wants his side to be more clinical against sides in the bottom half of the table with lowly Kentish Town the visitors on Saturday.

"It's a potential banana skin for us," said Lacey. "They are near the bottom end of the table and these are the sorts of games we really need to be winning if we are going to be challenging for honours.

"It's a case of getting the players up for it. They have got to be as up for these kinds of games as those where we are playing against the top teams.

"The spirit is very high at the club at the moment so we are confident we can get a result.

Colney Heath: Seidu, Teesdale, Beaumont, Gerber, Dillnutt, Coombs, Ashwood, Deacon, Jackman, Cooper, Parratt. Subs: Newman, Spiers, Lacey, Corbould, Stevens.