Colney Heath 3 Haringey Borough 0

Monday 8th April 2013
This turned out to be my longest midweek football trip for what must be almost five years and one which could have had a frustrating conclusion before arriving at the ground (more below). Colney Heath, who were playing in the Herts Senior County League when I lived in the south-east, took an early lead with a scrambled goal credited to Richard Cooke. Watching the game in the company of Southend-based Peter Miles, the home side doubled their lead with a super strike from Ryan Foley and wrapped up a first win in eight league and cup games with a third goal scored within two minutes of the restart by Jamie Hazell.

Colney Heath 3 Haringey Borough 0
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
At: Recreation Ground, High Street
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £6 including £1 programme (32 pages)
Weather: mild and dry

The dates of various forthcoming home games influenced my choice tonight and I opted for a rare trip these days into the previously-familiar Spartan South Midlands League, which I got to know well during the 1990s. After tonight, Colney Heath still have eight games to play before the end of the month through none of their three remaining home games fall on a convenient date for me. Not that there is any particular urgency to visit their Recreation Ground, it is another Step 5 ground on my ‘to do’ list and, being midweek during British Summer Time, an opportunity to see the place in daylight.

The village of Colney Heath is located a few miles east of St Albans and according to Andy of Kent’s website is some 4.5 miles from the nearest railway station. There is a bus but still out of reach for me on a Saturday by public transport because of the time of the last train home from Watford Junction.

I must admit to checking my spreadsheet and the club history because of a bit of confusion on my part whether I’d visited tonight’s destination Colney Heath or nearby London Colney. As Colney Heath were members of the rarely-watched Hertfordshire Counties Senior League when I lived in the South East, I must have previously seen London Colney [19th March 1997 v Milton Keynes at Cotlandswick]. Confusion over!

OK, I suppose I have to briefly tell the story of how I nearly ended up with a wasted journey. Doubling back on the A414 a roundabout too early, I got terribly confused driving up and down the High Street trying to match my directions to the landmarks without success. Thankfully, someone on the phone at Colney Heath pointed out that the Deep Sea fish and chip shop I was parked close to was in fact in of LONDON COLNEY – the wrong town! With much appreciation from me, he gave me directions to the correct High Street via the ‘Dog Bone’ roundabout and I easily found the ground though with no more than 15 minutes to spare. Perhaps the shock of finding out that the M10 had been downgraded to an ‘A’ road added to the confusion, may be? No time, alas, to spot any of the coal posts that Laurence mentioned in his blog on Colney Heath FC.

Colney Heath and Haringey Borough have been hit the hardest of the 22 clubs in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division and none of the others had played as few as 33 games. Tonight both played the third of eleven April league fixtures and both are in action again tomorrow evening.

I suppose it is a good job, bearing in mind the fixture pile-up, that Colney Heath (13th position with 46 points from 33 games) and Haringey Borough (12th position with 48 points from 33 games) sit comfortably in mid-table with no prospect of either promotion or relegation. Saying that, I’m sure both would rather be challenging for the title, which will be won by Dunstable Town.

I touched on a bit of club history earlier and it is worth mentioning that Colney Heath FC was founded in 1907 and they joined the Spartan South Midlands League in 2000, progressing from the Division One to the Premier Division in 2006. The Recreation Ground has hard-standing all round with floodlights and a 100-seater stand in front of the clubhouse.

Programmes were on sale at the pay box and included in the admission change, extra copies on sale for £1. While trying to find someone with the teamsheets, I met Peter Miles, the Southend and Essex expert, for the first time who already had the important 32 names duty noted. Thanks.

Haringey Borough (in Norwich-like yellow and green) got the game underway attacking the entrance end in the first half.

Looking to end a run of eight league and cup games without a win, Colney Heath got off to a perfect start with a goal in the 12th minute. It was somewhat confusing goal during a scramble that ensued following Dean Parratt’s right-wing corner. Central defender Richard Cooke was credited with forcing the ball over the line but I’m not sure (photo right).

The home side continued to impress. Jamie Hazell hit a low left-foot shot which Haringey goalkeeper Erbil Bozkurt held and Parratt sent a rising drive just over the bar from the edge of the area which drew some “good effort” compliments.

It was no surprise when Colney Heath doubled their lead midway through the first half. Ryan Foley hot an unstoppable 25-yard shot that flew into the right-side of the net past the diving Bozjurt.

“Heads up,” the Haringey players were told but their task was made harder with an injury to defender Audras Molnar.

The home side continued to create chances and the boot of Bozkurt kept out a low shot from Hazell and in the next attack a slip by Lewis Laws presented Ben Agyekum with a chance which he fired low across the face of goal.

Just before the break, Haringey almost pulled a goal back. Dimitri Gbo hit a low shot from the edge of the area which the diving Tom Blackwall turned round the right-hand post. From the resulting corner, Nick Nicou headed over at the far post.

During the interval, we picked up a Colney Heath badge (£3) and were directed towards the larger of the two bars where we spotted the tea bar. Much-needed cobs were on sale in the smaller bar.

Colney Heath made it 3-0 within two minutes of the restart. Sam Margerrison delivered a corner to the near post from where Hazell sent a glancing header into the far side of the net.

Just after the hour mark, Margerrison played a free-kick on the right forward into the area where Ricky Perks headed wide.

The home side had certainly ended their winless run and now it was a case of ‘how many?’, but poor defending gifted a chance to Haringey but Gbo fired straight at Blackwell.

Perhaps with one eye on tomorrow’s league game at Hanwell Town, Colney Heath made a double change, replacing Margerrison, who had been delivering some excellent set-pieces into the area, and Hazell, the scorer of the third goal.

Bozkurt produced a decent save to turn round a low shot from Agyekum and Parratt fired just wide as Colney Heath looked for a fourth goal.

After drawing 0-0 at home to Hillingdon Borough, I’m sure Blackwell was keen to record a clean sheet and did well to keep out a shot from Ceon Samuels. Gbo’s followed-up shot from the rebounded deflected off a defender at the expense of a corner. Late on, Lawrence Constanti not only drove over the bar from the edge of the area but cleared the trees behind the goal as well.

In the end, a good 3-0 win for Colney Heath which moved them up one place in the table, swapping places with the team they’d defeated. Even though I needed a short sleep at Watford Gap on the way home, I certainly enjoyed visiting this friendly club and watching the game in the excellent company of Peter Miles.

Colney Heath (red and white stripes / black / red): 1. Tom Blackwall, 2. Jamie Rayner 3. Sam Margerrison, 4. Glen Draper (capt), 5. Richard Cooke, 16. Nick Martin, 7. Dean Parratt, 8. Ryan Foley, 9. Ricky Perks, 10. Jamie Hazell, 11. Ben Agyekum. Subs: 12. Andie Dawkins (for Hazell, 68), 14. Jordan Peregnko (for Margerrison, 68), 15. Jake Eley (not used). Manager: Frank Patrick.

Haringey Borough (yellow/green/yellow): 1. Erbil Bozkurt, 2. Aristides Savva, 3. Jack Christidolou, 4. Dewayne Clarke, 5. Andras Molnar, 6. Lewis Laws (capt), 7. Gabriel Mmieh, 8. Nick Nicou, 9. Bradley O’Donovan, 10. Dimitri Gbo, 11. Adam Andreou. Subs: 12. Lawrence Constanti (for Molnar, 35), 14. Jermaine Mitchell (for Savva, 68), 15. Rakim Richards (not used), 16. Ceon Samuels (for O’Donovan, 75), 17. Kyri Neocleous (not used). Manager: Tom Loizou.

Referee: A. Anastasiou.
Assistants: G. Blackmore and L. Koskas.

Attendance: 28

Duration: first-half: 46:59; second-half: 47:55

1-0 Richard Cooke (12)
2-0 Ryan Foley (22)
3-0 Jamie Hazell (47)

Colney Heath:
Haringey: Dewayne Clarke (YC, 62)