Sat 5th Aug 2017
The Emirates F A Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Colney Heath 1-0 TAFC First team
WE EXPERIENCE HIGHS AND LOWS OF CUP FOOTBALL
After the joys of our win over local rivals Leverstock Green in the Herts Charity Shield in midweek it was our turn to taste defeat on Saturday when we went down 1-0 at Colney Heath in the Emirates FA Cup.
Last season we did the treble over Colney Heath but they will be a different proposition this year after recruitment a large number of players from Champions London Colney. An official from the latter said he counted 9 of their former players in their squad whilst we had a mere one, namely Mark Riddick who made his debut for us and looks a very useful acquisition. Our opponents have also started the season strongly by thrashing St Margaretsbury 8-2 in the Herts Charity Shield in midweek, so we knew we were facing a tough match.
For this encounter we were without Luke Dunstan and Tommy Twelves and we were also missing the effervescent skills of young Max Hercules, and they were greatly missed. The final score line suggests a close game but in truth we were second best and had our hosts converted the two penalties awarded to them they would have won by a bigger margin although we were denied a clear penalty.
The game was played at a frenetic pace and there were plenty of meaty challenges but it was not dirty and the 9 yellow cards issued by the Referee was quite frankly ridiculous.
An early free kick from Chris Vardy was curled in dangerously from the left and just required a touch but the home keeper Harry Smart, formerly with Hoddesdon Town, kept his eye on the ball and made the save. Colney responded with a corner that caused us problems before we eventually cleared out lines.
In the 13th minute Chris Vardy put over a nice cross and the ball was moved onto Jack Read who was clearly fouled by the defender in the area but the Referee turned our appeal down. The home side attacked with pace and were always a threat from set pieces and in the 22nd minute they scored following a corner. The ball reached their captain Sam Doolan who was in acres of space in the area and he gave Jack Hopwood no chance. Debates about offside were dismissed and the goal was awarded. Score 1-0.
Soon afterwards we lost the ball in midfield and had to count our lucky stars when Jack Woods fired a presentable opportunity well wide. Jack Hopwood then had to come to our rescue by pushing away a well struck free kick from Dave Parkinson.
The home side had already called for a penalty when a shot struck someone's hand (not sure who) but the Referee said no. When it happened a second time just before half time (again not sure who it was) the official awarded the spot kick. Up stepped Lee Armitt who produced the worse penalty since Sam Joliffe's effort against Aston Clinton last season when he hit the post and the ball went off for a throw!
It was a let off and although we were still in the game we still had a lot to do as we went in for the half time cuppa. HT Score 1-0.
Soon after the restart we had to clear a dangerous header across goal following a fine cross to the far post whilst we had a half chance when a fine pass gave Jack Read the merest sight of goal but Jack's shot was sliced well wide.
In the 55th minute Spencer Clarke- Mardel was booked for diving but four minutes later the Referee relented and awarded another penalty to our hosts when sub Osama Allman went down under a challenge from Sam Joliffe. There was definite contact but the winger did seem to go down rather easily. It didn't matter as again Lee Armitt failed to score with Jack Hopwood making an easy save.
We had a little spell when we retained possession and passed the ball around but it came to nothing and we failed to cut open the home defence or test their keeper. Newcomer Mark Riddick did get his head to a cross but he was unable to hit the target.
Armitt pulled a shot wide after barging Sam Joliffe off the ball, a challenge that seemed more of a foul than the penalty but the Referee again saw it differently. Jack Hopwood then made a couple of saves and must have been relieved that there were no repercussions when his attempted clearance was charged down.
Ian Richardson and his team made a number of changes to shake things up but Colney deservedly held on to picked up the winners cheque for £1,500 and a place in the next round where they will entertain Gloucestershire side Shortwood United who play in the Southern League Division1 (South & West). We wish them all the best for the game.
A disappointing result and performance as we never looked like scoring but we were without some key players in midfield and our opponents are going to be a force in the league this year. Not many teams are going come away from there this season with points in the bag.
We can also take heart from last season when we went out to Desborough Town at the same stage of the FA Cup but still went on to have a highly successful season.
We have a week to get over this defeat before opening our League campaign at home on Saturday with another challenging game this time against Welwyn Garden City who finished a place below us last season in sixth and will be keen to be amongst the title contenders this year.
CH:1 Harry Smart 2 Dan Power 3 Joe Newton 4 Sam Doolan (Capt) 5 Cian Sweeney 6 Nathan Dimmock (17 Stefan Geraldes 78) 7 Dave Parkinson (16 Osama Allman 55) 8 Danny Fitzgerald 9 Lee Armitt 10 Spencer Clarke-Mardel 11 Jack Woods (12 Jimmy Hill 90). Subs not used: 14 Liam Sweeney 15 Niall Lysaght 18 Adam Lawton GK Andy Salveson.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Zac Crawford 3 Jack Seaton 4 Mark Riddick 5 Dan Steadman (Capt)(16 Jack Sunderland 84) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Ryan Sturges (17 James Shaw 84) 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Chris Blunden 11 Jack Read (12 Qwam Thomas 67). Subs not used: 14 Ryan Reeves 15 Lewis Smith 18 Seb Smith GK Callum Wood.
CH:Sam Doolan (22)