Road to Wembley 17/18: Preliminary Round


Colney Heath 2-0 Shortwood Utd

So it was a second visit to the Recreation Ground, Colney Heath, on our Road to Wembley in the Preliminary round. Colney Heath beat Tring Athletic 1-0 in the extra preliminary round and were drawn against Shortwood United.

We arrived earlier this time and found ourselves kicking a football around in the beer garden waiting for the pub to open! After another decent lunch and a couple of pints in the Crooked Billet we made our way over to the Social Club at the ground to sample the pre match atmosphere. Colney Heath manager Ryan Thompson and chairman Martin Marlborough were kind enough to have some words with us before kick off on what was a very important game for them. They were both explaining how since the Tring game the results had been far from ideal especially the match against local rivals London Colney which they lost 4-1 after taking the lead. This was put down to poor discipline more than anything, but they had the chance put that right in this game against Shortwood and get back on track as a win would equal the clubs best ever run in the FA Cup. Shortwood haven’t enjoyed the best start to their league campaign either with one point from two games so far and it became apparent before the game that they had a distinct lack of players available, it was explained to us that this was down to injuries and holidays.

Colney Heath started brightly in the first 10 minutes with Oz Allman using his pace and trickery down the wing to cause problems as well as Jack Woods holding the ball up well in a central role as a lone striker.

Shortwood slowly started getting back into the game and by the middle of the first half they began to gain control and have the Colney Heath players pushed back into their half whilst not creating too many clear cut chances. It didn’t seem like Colney Heath were going to have as much of the ball as they had in the previous round but then Shortwood are playing at one level higher than them. The game however, by the end of the half, had levelled out and was even albeit without much action to write about.

The second half started much brighter with Shortwood hitting the bar early on with a powerful effort. Colney Heath made a tactical switch putting Jack Woods back out on the wing and bringing on number 12, Carl Carr to take over up front.

Very soon after his arrival, Carr was straight into the action being brought down and winning a penalty. The Shortwood players weren’t happy with this decision as they seemed to feel that the foul was committed outside of the area but the referee wasn’t having any of it. Goal scorer from the previous round, Sam Doolan, stepped up to take the penalty and was hoping for better luck than Lee Armitt, who missed 2 penalties for the magpies in the previous round. The captain calmly lifted the penalty in the roof of the net without any problems giving the on loan Shortwood goalkeeper, Harry Pickering, no chance. During the celebrations, quotes were heard from a Colney Heath players with a message for Armitt who wasn’t present, ‘That’s how you take a penalty!’

It was clear that the penalty changed the game, from then on it was all Colney Heath playing it around well and getting some good crosses in. And it was a great cross that set up the second goal for our man of the match, Spencer Clarke-Mardel, wearing number 10, who powered a header right into the top corner of the net and securing the win for Colney Heath.

I was surpised with how little Shortwood United did offer in this game and that continued towards the end of the game as they couldn’t really create any more decent chances.

Late on, Colney number 15, Russell Gallagher made a great run into the penalty area and across the front of goal before shooting at the opposite corner and hitting the post before the ball bounced right back to the feet of Carl Carr who blazed it over the bar from 6 yards out.

That was the last action of note in the game and in the end it was a comprehensive 2-0 win for Colney Heath who now await the draw on Monday where they hope for a kind tie that could possibly see them go the furthest they have ever gone in their FA cup history.

Our thanks to Jack Debbage. Follow him here!

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