Phoenix burn Colts dreams
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 1, Phoenix “A” 5
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 17 April 2011
High expectations soon dissipated after an Andy Shirra goal in the 13th minute was matched by a Phoenix penalty, followed by 2 further goals that drained the energy from a Colts side looking for automatic promotion. Despite dominating the 2nd half in terms of possession and play Colts could not engineer a goal. Pushing forward left a 3 man defence exposed to Phoenix’s long ball game and 2 further goals consigned Colts to a 5-1 defeat.
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 8, The Camp Albanians 1
HASFL Friendly Sunday 10 April 2011
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves took the opportunity of this friendly to give runs to a number of new faces and they cruised to an 8-1 win over The Camp Albanians with a double brace from man of the match Andy Shirra and singles from Will Oxley, Alex Dennehy and Andrew Luckhurst with an own goal completing the tally. Ben Neale was outstanding as stand in central defender well supported by debutant Mark Pearse.
Still Waters runs to form
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 5, Sandridge 2
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 3 April 2011
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves returned to winning ways with a well worked 5-2 victory over Sandridge with races from Andrew Cannons and Nick Waters together with a single from Alex Dennehy. Defender Graham Davies was in outstanding form for Colts well supported by Steven Easterbrook who lead the front line and Alex Dennehy whose probing runs from midfield set up many Colt moves.
Colts slide continues
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 0, Greenwood Park 2
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 27 March 2011
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves could barely field 11 players for this match and they struggled to find any form finally going down 2-0 as they were out battled by a Greenwood Park side who simply showed a greater desire to win with a last minute penalty sealing Colts fate Ben Neale and Sam Lewis were outstanding for Colts
A frustrating performance by the Reserves allowed an energetic Park side to poach an early 2nd half goal and an 89th minute penalty to inflict another home defeat on the seasons early pacemakers. Man of the match, Andy Luckhurst, was constantly cajoling the team to raise its efforts, but despite his uplifting performance, the Reserves were unable to inject any real zest into their game, and again failed to convert any of the chances they did create – partly due to Park’s keeper having an excellent game when called into action.
Colts started the game in an enthusiastic fashion, and quickly found the wide pitch to their liking as they exploited the space that Park allowed them. The 5 man midfield worked well in the opening minutes, creating space and pressurising Park’s defence. Andrew Cannons and Lewis Paul foraged up front and created 2 chances that could have put Colts in a dominant position. However, Park showed they were not going to allow the Reserves an easy game as they were quick to break from their defence, where their 2 forwards exhibited pace that Colts sadly lacked. A combination of good fortune, good goalkeeping and a steady defence kept Park at bay.
Regrouping and maintaining their shape, Colts again passed the ball around, pressing and searching for opportunities to keep Park on the back foot. In the 20th minute Cannons ran onto a defence splitting pass calmly beating the keeper. Unfortunately play was brought back for an offside decision against Lewis Paul who was clearly not interfering with play. Park bounced back with a shot thudding against the crossbar. However, the first half failed to provide further excitement other than a Lewis Paul shocker of a miss in the 6 yard box.
Although the Reserves knew the 2nd half would not be a cruise, confidence was high that the breakthrough was not far away. How prescient. A goal soon livened up the game, but it was Greenwood who were the beneficiaries of a defensive mix-up. Colts were now chasing the game. Although Park squandered 2 excellent chances they never looked a team that could inflict serious damage. They did however play with a purpose that the Reserves, in spite of their better football, could not match. As the game progressed Colts became more laboured, and when 2 attacks looked as if an equaliser and the lead would come their way, the Park keeper denied Andy Luckhurst and Lewis Paul. The game was ebbing away from Colts, and as tired legs and disheartened players wearily plodded towards full time, Park launched one more attack. Exposing a dishevelled midfield and defence, the Park forward bore down on goal. Ricky looked to distract the forward. The distraction was not enough as he brought the forward down. Penalty and Colts 5th sending off this season. Bodner stepped into the breach, but to no avail. 2-0 and a welcome final whistle.
Promotion is still within the reach of the Reserves, though to enjoy that pleasure requires the side to overcome both Sandridge and Phoenix A in their final 2 games.
Gnome-where to hide award
– Lewis Paul …… And everyone knows why!!
A bridge too far?
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 0, Skew Bridge Reserves 2
HASFL Reserve Cup Semi Final Sunday 20 March 2011
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves battled hard against their top of division 4 opponents Skew Bridge Reserves in the semi final of the Herts Advertiser Reserve Cup but they were always chasing the game after conceding an early route 1 goal and a soft penalty put them 2-0 down and they failed to take the chances on offer to get back on terms. Sam Lewis was outstanding in the Colts defence supported by an impressive display by keeper Ricky Figg and full back Ben Neale.
A hard fought local semi final derby that Skew bridge nudged a 2-0 victory.
Colts on the back foot absorbed 15 minutes of pressure before mounting a resilient fight back. However, a long ball goal kick was allowed to bounce and the Skew forward, reacting quickly, latched onto the ball and confidently lobbed Ricky Figg.
Tenacious play saw Colts claw their way back into the game, but goal scoring chances were at a premium. A good move involving Alex D and Lewis P ended with a cross that Andy Cannons just failed to convert. Against the run of play, Skew challenged strongly down the left and a mistimed tackle left the referee with no choice but to give a penalty. Skew 2 Reserves 0.
Not all was lost as Colts strove to score and get something from the game. Unfortunately, this was a game where Colts would get very little reward for their efforts. A goal mouth scramble 2 minutes from the end proved a point. No matter how hard Colts tried, today was not going to be theirs.
In other circumstances a draw would have been a truer reflection of endeavours from both sides. But one team had to win. Today it was not a Colts victory, but the team played with purpose and with a bit more of lady luck could have forced a result.
Colts surrender the crown
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 1, AFC Crown 2
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 13 March 2011
A depleted Harpenden Colts OB Reserves side effectively surrendered their claim to the Division 5 title when they were outfought and outplayed by their main rivals AFC Crown to go down 2-1 with only a superb goal by Ben Neale to show for their efforts.
An underpar Reserves Old Boys came up against an AFC side that had a will to win that unfortunately the Reserves couldn’t match. AFC began the game at a tempo the reserves found difficult to counter, and for the 1st 15 minutes, Colts were lucky not to concede and/or retain possession of the ball. In calming down, Colts steadied the ship, but still looked vulnerable. 41 minutes into the game and AFC asserted their dominance, 1-0. Colts realised they were a team struggling to compete and hold their own. Bodner led the charge, and in the 43rd minute set off on a mission. Forsaking his defensive responsibilities, Bodner set off. Running 50 yards, bypassing 3 AFC players he exchanged passes with big Steve. Picking up the return pass, he coolly shot past the outstretched left hand of the AFC keeper to score Colts best goal of the season.
Level terms and all to play for. Colts now had a good 20 minute spell, but to no avail; especially as Cannons and Easterbrook chose to miss the target. An ugly game deserved an ugly finish which AFC duly obliged. A defensive mix up allowed AFC to take a 2-1 advantage which Colts never looked like pulling back.
A season defining result and one which could leave the team in 2nd place come mid May. Promotion, still a reality but how much do you all want it!
Cannons blows away Republique
Alternative Quat Republique 0, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 9
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 5 March 2011
League Leaders Harpenden Colts OB Reserves maintained top spot as they cruised to a 9-0 victory over lowly Alternative Quat Republique with a double brace from Andrew Cannons and singles from Steven Easterbrook, Alex Dennehy, Nick Waters, Glen Turner and Ben Neale. Sam Lewis was outstanding at the back for colts whilst Andrew Cannons and Ben Neale were dominant in the Colts play.
Much pre match angst centred around the none appearance of Connor Mcgregor and Ricky Figg.
However, a subtle reorganisation of playing resources ensured the Reserves started the game with a balanced and positive line up. Early pressure brought instant dividends as two shots went very close to opening the scoring. A goal was soon to follow as Alex Dennehy pierced the Alternative midfield, allowing Glen Turner to run onto the ball, control it and deftly sidestep a defender before shooting wide of an outstretched keeper. The portents bode well, but it was not until the 44th minute that the Reserves breached the Alternative defence for a second goal. Paul Turner received the ball wide on the left , found Bodner, who, surging forward, played a decisive one two with Lewis Paul to amble past a bemused back 4 to claim a 2 goal advantage.
After a terse half time talk, the team entered the second half fray and immediately upped the ante in terms of pace and the will to win. Brushing aside a poor Alternative side, the Reserves scored a further 7 goals for a quite emphatic win.
Steve Easterbrook added a previously unseen zest to the attack, meeting a Lewis Paul cross in the 50th minute with what can only be described as a sublime right foot volley. This encouraged Alex Dennehy who flighted a well directed free kick past the despairing defence and keeper in the 53rd minute. Recovering his composure Andrew Cannons decided that his early penalty miss required retribution. In the 60th and 75th minutes he latched onto assists by Sam Lewis to add 2 further goals to the Reserves tally. By this time Alternative looked a dejected team and offered very little in terms of resistance to a now dominant Colts Old Boys team. Passing with confidence and relinquishing the need for a 4 man back 4, Colts pushed forward playing 3 at the back and interchanging a 5 man midfield with a 3 man attack to emphasise their dominance and versatility. Nick Waters finally woke up in front of the Alternative goal, having provided numerous questions of a ponderous defence, and almost waltzing onto an Alex Dennehy through ball that Andrew Cannons surreptitiously stopped on the penalty spot scored the 7th Colts goal in the 78th minute.
A final substitution brought on Bob Trevor for Lewis Paul, and the sudden injection of forethought and elderly statesman like awareness provided added impetus to the Colts play. Intelligent 3rd man running allowed Bob Trevor to pick up the ball some 20 yards from goal, and with a precise lob over the defender sent Cannons forward to score his 3rd goal on 85 minutes. Two minutes later, Bob Trevor picked out Steve Easterbrook, who almost incidental in the move passed the ball forward for Andrew to latch onto and score his 4th and Colts 9th goal of the game.
A relatively poor first half, played at half pace saw Colts struggle to impose themselves on a resilient and defiant Alternative Quat Republique. However, the second half saw a revitalised and galvanised Reserves team that was determined to put a rambling first half behind them. This they did with aplomb, and by the end of 90 minutes proved worthy winners, although Alternative should be credited with a big hearted performance against a team that was determined to improve its goals tally in a very competitive division.
Dukes blown away by Cannons fire
Dukes 3, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 6
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 27 February 2011
League Leaders Harpenden Colts OB Reserves had to come from behind and draw upon all their determination to grind out a 6-3 deserved victory over Dukes with singles from Nick Waters, Andrew Luckhurst, Andrew Dennehy and Lewis Paul and a late fired brace from Andrew Cannons. Colts central midfield duo Alex Dennehy and Andrew Luckhurst ran the show for Colts well supported by Ben Neal and Lewis Paul on the flanks.
A late switch of venues and a delayed start could have upset the pre match preparations, but in some ways worked in the Reserves favour as a full warm up took place prior to the start of the game, and for once the Reserves started a fixture in match mode as opposed to building up their momentum. Whilst beginning the game with a positive attitude, several chances were wasted in the first ten minutes before they settled into a tempo reminiscent of a quickstep or well executed foxtrot. Cheered on by Len Goodman Colts quickened their pace and put together some exciting moves involving all members of the side. It appeared only a matter of time before on field dominance would be expressed through goals for and none against. How wrong, and how fickle football can be. Against the run of play, and a hesitant defence, Colts allowed Dukes to push forward to exploit space in front of goal and fell 1-0 behind to a very good Dukes shot. A defining moment which galvanised Colts. Their response was swift and retribution slick in the extreme. In the 20th minute Alex Dennehy in a reprise of Will Bates goal last week finished a mazy run with a delicate dipping chip over the keeper. This was closely followed by a defence splitting pass by Lewis Paul for Nick Waters to run onto and rifle home in the 35th minute. As with an interruption in a TV transmission, normal service was restored; or was it. Colt’s ability to present opportunities to opposition teams again kicked in. An unnecessary foul just outside the 18 yard box, poor positioning of the wall and a slow to react Mr Figg allowed Dukes to level the scores at 2-2. As half time approached both teams looked as if they were happy to share the honours. Andy Luckhurst had other ideas. Playing a classic one two wall pass with Lewis Paul, Lucky moved forward and coolly placed a shot wide of the flailing Dukes keeper. 44 minutes gone and Colts once more looked to be in control.
The second half was essentially all Colts, though Dukes did manage to break strongly down the flanks. Stout defending by Graham, Ben, Sam and Simon repulsed most of these breakaways, and only the odd one reached Ricky in goal. After 50 minutes Colts extended their lead with a goal that could only have emanated from the training ground and Colts ability to pass their way out of trouble and create an opportunity that an Oscar winner such as Colin Firth would have trouble emulating. Ben’s throw in found Lucky who exchanged passes with Adam T. Adam sent clear then skipped past the right back to provide the low cross for Lewis Paul to run onto and tap in. Game over? Unfortunately not. A 50th minute sublime moment turned to near disaster as Colts slipped into Titanic mode. Slow to turn, calamitous decision making, failure to defend and Ricky’s propensity to throw a ball into the back of his own players head proved an ideal opportunity for Dukes to score and threaten all of the good work that Colts had achieved. 4-3 to Colts and still some 20 minutes remaining.
Fortunately Colts were able to lift their game once more and until the end of the game did not allow Dukes any further opportunities to exploit concentration lapses. Retaining possession and working as coherent units the defence, midfield and forwards blended off the ball running with smart passing interchanges, prising open Dukes at every opportunity. Adam T linked up with Lucky once more in the 80th minute, and a cheeky back heel from Lucky found Andrew Cannons lurking in front of goal. A deft feint, a well placed shot and Colts were leading 5-3. Five minutes later Ben Neale moving the ball forward down the left flank chanced his arm picking out Andrew Cannons with a long lofted cross field pass. Chesting the ball down, arching his body, Cannons volleyed Colts 6th goal past a despairing Dukes keeper.
Two consecutive league wins keeps Colts at the top of the table, but AFC Crown with 2 games in hand are well placed to upset the odds should Colts slip up in any forthcoming fixtures.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Graham Davies – for his ability to play air shots when a well timed header would have made life so much easier.
Colts miserable run continues
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 0, Oaks Reserves 3
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 13 February 2011
League Leaders Harpenden Colts OB Reserves miserable run of form continued with a 3-0 home defeat by Oaks Reserves who gained revenge for their 2 previous defeats by Colts this season. Colts were guilty of being wasteful in possession and with their chances as any hopes they have for winning the title all but evaporated. Sam Lewis worked hard in the Colts defence side supported by Andy Luckhurst and Alex Dennehy in midfield.
Colts were looking to pick themselves up from last week’s defeat, and despite a much improved Oaks Reserves looked to have blown the cobwebs away as they moved the ball around confidently. Prising open a weak defence it appeared only a matter of time before Colts would score. Unfortunately, the final pass was woefully poor, and in spite of creating 3 clear first half chances, the attack and midfield contrived to make life difficult as shots were miscued or directed towards defenders and goalkeeper.
As with AFC, Colts found it increasingly difficult to break down a massed defence, and again proved vulnerable to incisive counter attacking play. So much so that in the 28th minute Colts defence allowed a classic break to split the midfield and defence, and whist confusion prevailed, the 3rd man running scooped a shot past Ricky Figg.
All concerned realised that concentration and defensive shape were crucial to a difficult 2nd half where Colts were playing against the elements and a determined Oaks team. Positional changes and substitutions prevailed, but to no avail as Oaks pushed onwards with their long ball down the channels. This again proved Colts undoing. Oaks twice found space down the flanks. A ball into the 6 yard box, Ricky doing his best to impersonate a Covent Garden entertainer juggled the ball until it fell to an Oaks attacker, 2-0. Shortly afterwards, a long ball down the right flank, a measured cross and Colts were 3-0 down. With 10 minutes left, a late surge failed to bring a consolation goal, and Colts left the pitch disconsolate.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Ricky Figg – for the worst juggling seen outside of the circus.
AFC keeper takes the Crown
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 2, AFC Crown 3 (aet)
HASFL Junior Cup R2 Sunday 6 February 2011
Harpenden Colts OB Reserves dominated most of the first half of this Junior Cup clash against fellow Division 5 rivals AFC Crown and they twice taking the lead through Andrew Cannons and Andrew Luckhurst before being caught on the break to give AFC equalisers. The brilliance of AFC keeper Dan Warren kept Colts at bay with a number of stunning saves to take the game into extra time and Colts paid the penalty for not dealing with a loose ball 10 minutes from the end to crash out of the Cup. Sam Lewis was outstanding in the Colts defence well supported by Jamie Gunson and Huw Trevor.
The Reserves sparked into gear from the off, and within 11 minutes had a 1-0 lead after Andrew Cannons fired home from a Jamie Gunson cross. Slack defending allowed AFC back into the game, but on the 23rd minute Andy Luckhurst restored the lead from a Marc Oakley corner. Whilst the blustery conditions proved difficult, Colts looked comfortable until AFC strolled through a passive defence to equalise just before half time.
Chances were few and far between in the 2nd half, and a dogged AFC forced Colts into extra time. Despite every effort to raise their game, Colts struggled to unpick a packed AFC defence, and occasionally left themselves vulnerable to a counter attack. With some 7 minutes to play before penalties loomed, AFC broke once more, wrong footed the defence, and a weak shot proved too much for Ricky. 3-2 and defeat beckoning. The game tempo was upped for the last 5 minutes, but to no avail, and a second successive sending off saw Colts again reduced to 10 men before the final whistle.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Sam Lewis – for going to ground before the match had even started
Colts high Five
Wheathampstead Reserves 0, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 5
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 30 January 2011
Herts Advertiser Junior Cup Division 5 leaders maintained top spot with a comfortable 5-0 win over bottom side Wheathampstead Reserves with goals from Lewis Paul, Alex Dennehy, Steven Easterbrook and Freddie Warner with an own goal completing the tally. Man of the match Huw Trevor was outstanding at full back for Colts well supported by Simon Cooper.
On a cold grey morn Elvis sang when intoning In the Ghetto, and the game against Wheathampstead had an austere feel to it as players trudged out onto the pitch. A local derby, and for Wheathampstead scores to settle after a previous 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Old Boy Reserves.
From the outset Wheathampstead made it clear a physical game was in store for the visiting side. However, brushing aside the heavy challenges, Connor with a sweeping 4th minute cross field pass found Andy Shirra whose shot was blocked. Falling to Lewis Paul no mistake was made with his 20 yard effort. 4 minutes later the Reserves extended their lead as a Dennehy shot was blocked and the opposition full back dragged the ball across the line. 2-0 and the game had hardly started. Wheathampstead were not as resilient as had first been thought, and their midfield and defensive frailties continued to be exposed by good team work between Huw and Andy on the left hand side. The passing interchanges created time and space for the Reserves, bringing Connor and Alex into the game as play was switched between left and right, defence and attack.
15 minutes into the game and Alex drifting forward picked up a loose ball firing it goal wards from 20 yards. A frantic keeper managed to get his hand to it but this only served to help the ball on its way into the net. 5 minutes later, Steve picked up the ball in the opposition 6 yard box, and after a passing exchange with a defender turned and slotted the ball home; 4-0 and 25 minutes of the half remaining. Colts maintained their dominance, and passed their way out of trouble when Wheathampstead were able to muster a counter attack. Whilst looking to create space, Wheathampstead were limited in their options and often fell foul of a game based on hope rather than guile. As the 1st half progressed, Connor and Alex relaxed causing Colts to rely on good defending from the back 4, Simon in particular. Playing out the last 5 minutes of the half, Colts had a winning air about their play which was soon to be deflated with a half time talk aimed at bringing them back into reality given a further 45 minutes had to be played and won before 3 points were secure.
A bright start to the 2nd half saw the team continue to impose themselves and a 5th goal looked imminent, until…….An altercation involving Steve resulted in an horrendous decision. Cogitating over what had happened the referee with the grace of a high court judge and the slow-mo of a Clint Eastwood western reached for his card. Not just any card, but a red card. Go to jail, do not pass go. Steve was flabbergasted and with a weary and bemused look dragged his massive frame off the pitch. A player down Colts could have fallen into the abyss. But urged on by Sam and a sense of injustice the Colts played some of their best football over the next 15 to 20 minutes. A poor playing surface and weary legs were forgotten as team work prevailed. A slight change in formation and players proved intoxicating. Jamie injected pace and enthusiasm and Freddie a sense of adventure prior to his forthcoming Philleus Fogg escapades.
Huw and Graham began to feed Lewis and Nick respectively and Alex’s 3rd man running proved difficult to contain. Wheathampstead attacks were repulsed by Sam and Simon with Ricky a stalwart should they have broken through. Gradually gaps appeared and Colts exposed the Wheathampstead defence for what it was – very poor and disorganised. Freddie looking for the Gnome made a complete rickets of a chance as he flailed at and missed a glorious opportunity to volley the ball home, but surprisingly in the 82nd minute picked up the rebound from a Nick shot tapping the ball in from 5 yards. Not finished, Freddie was in space 2 minutes later to collect a through ball. Unfortunately he had forgotten to revise law 11 the night before. The assistant referee showing no hesitation raised the flag and yet again Freddie rued the day Andy Gray had lectured the populus on the offside law. A final burst in the last 5 minutes saw the team continue to play good football where the pass and move ethic came to prominence with Wheathampstead a demoralised and beaten side.
Freddie quells French revolution
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 2, Alternative Quat Republique 1
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 23 January 2011
Herts Advertiser Junior Cup Division 5 leaders Harpenden Colts went ahead from a goal by Alex Dennehy but they then had to overcome a late equaliser before maintaining top spot with a 2-1 win over lowly Alternative Quat Republique as Freddie Warner struck the winner at the death. Colts dominated much of the play but missed many chances. Andy Cannons was outstanding leading the front with full back Graham Davies and Huw Trevor also impressing.
Optimism ran high in the Reserves ranks as they strode out at the Camp Redbourn, though all were aware of upsets akin to Crawley Town’s defeat of Derby in the FA Cup. Sherri rallied the troops and from the outset Alternative found great difficulty in containing a Colts team intent on a passing game to expose any weaknesses offered. Alternative’s response to a high tempo game was to soak up the pressure, or attempt long lofted cross field passes to a forward isolated on the half way line – two tactics that sapped whatever energy had been conserved over the recent winter break. Much of the Colts play was directed down the channels, with Huw and Graham feeding Alex and Marc respectively. Cuts inside created space with Sherri and Lucky emulating contestants on Strictly as they waltzed through a mediocre opposition midfield. Andrew, playing an astute waiting game, dealt a blow to Alternative as he ran through a static defence only to be pulled up for offside as he calmly placed the ball wide of an approaching keeper.
Possession being nine tenths of the law paid dividends. Cashing in their stamps, Colts pressured Alternative. Poor defending resulted in a loose ball being retrieved by Alex, who, side stepping 2 players, calmly shot goalward the ball perfectly flighted into the top right hand corner of the net. 1-0 to the Colts in the 20th minute. The rest of the half followed a pattern of possession and determined Colts pressure. However, despite the Alternative post and cross bar taking a battering, further goals eluded the Reserves.
The 2nd half followed a similar path to the 1st – possession, domination and chances missed or defended stoically. Substitutions injected a greater sense of urgency, but as the game wore on, Colts appeared to be settling for a 1-0 victory. Given Alternative’s lack of creativity, but potential to counter attack, a calculated risk as a static midfield and defence soon realised. Failing to cut out a midfield through ball, Colts vainly looked for an offside. Caught napping, and not getting the decision, Alternative’s lone forward found himself in a time vortex that Colts could not penetrate. Ricky, helpless in the guise of a rusty cyberman, had little chance as Alternative levelled the score. A draw, or worse – defeat- beckoned, but Colts responded positively. Further pressure looked as though it would finally break the opposition. Time ticked on, and a breakaway Alternative attack was repelled with Adam S clearing the ball. His rugby background clearly an attribute, saw Adam launch the ball skyward and towards the opposition half. One bounce, a delicate touch by Andrew and Freddie was away. Unlike the St Albans IFC game Freddie stayed on his feet, controlled the ball and rounding the keeper bagged the points for the Reserves. The remaining 5 minutes was all Colts, but a moment of complacency nearly meant the top spot in the division was threatened by a lower table side.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Ricky Figg – spooning a clearance back over his head!
Lucky strike keeps Colts top
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 1, Cottonmill 0
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 16 January 2011
Herts Advertiser Junior Cup Division 5 leaders Harpenden Colts maintained top spot with a hard worked 1-0 win over Cottonmill after Man of the Match midfielder Andrew Luckhurst stuck after 57 minutes to seal a contest that for most of the game had Colts on top as Cottonmill defended well. Jamie Gunson worked hard in the Colts defence as Cottonmill pressed late in the game whilst Adam Thomas also impressed in midfield.
The Reserves although dominant throughout the game, save for the last 5 minutes where Cottonmill could have salvaged a draw or even an unlikely victory, made hard work of their 1-0 victory. A first half of errors, poor technique and failure to exploit a dour Cottonmill performance meant the Reserves trudged off at half time level on scores with their opposition. Although sound in defence the Reserves had to backtrack quickly on 3 occasions to avert conceding when the opposition left wing looked to have beaten the offside trap as Cottonmill launched their long ball counter attacks. Chances for the Reserves were few and far between, and although Andrew Cannons found the back of the net, he was adjudged to have been offside. The only other moment of excitement again fell to Mr Cannons, who in an Emile Heskey moment managed to clear the bar from a mere 3 yards out.
Recognising that they were a fraction off the pace in the 1st half, the Reserves upped their work rate and effort at the start of the 2nd half. An improved team shape, an injection of fresh legs with 3 early substitutions provided the impetus the Reserves needed, and progressively the team imposed its authority. Working for each other, passes found their mark and chances began to beckon. A brisk move out of defence saw an invigorated Chris Sheridan move down the left flank, turn his defender, and unleash a cross field pass that found Lucky unmarked in the penalty box. A quick jink, a right foot shot and Lucky found the bottom right hand corner of the opposition net, 1-0. A further 25 minutes of dominance followed but with no real reward other than the knowledge that Cottonmill didn’t really have a plan B. Both teams were tiring, but the final 5 minutes seemed to uplift Cottonmill. A touch of complacency, poor marking and half hearted challenges allowed Cottonmill 2 glorious chances to equalise. Spawning their first opportunity a quick break meant only Ricky stood between victory and an embarrassing draw. Singing (loudly and out of tune) Lionel Ritchie’s greatest hits, Ricky obviously hit the right note as the Cottonmill forward spooned his chance over the bar.
A good result for the Reserves, though an element of post Xmas/New Year hangovers during parts of the game which will need to be eliminated if results are to continue in their favour
Gnome-where to hide Award – Andrew Cannons – spooning from 3 yards out!
Cannons Screamer fails to fire Colts
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 2, St. Albans IFC 3
HASFL Division 5 Sunday 9 January 2011
Herts Advertiser Junior Cup Division 5 leaders Harpenden Colts title aspirations floundered in the mud against St. Albans IFC who completed the double over Colts with a 3-2 win. Colts opened the scoring with a 25 yard screamer for Andrew Cannons but a 15 minute lack of concentration saw them give away 3 goals to find themselves chasing the game. Nick Waters reduced the arrears for Colts but IFC defended well in the second half to deny Colts a way back despite the inspirational performance by captain Chris Sheridan. Nick Waters and Sam Lewis also impressed for Colts.
[Stuart Hall is temporarily speechless at such a shocking performance]
Gnome-where to hide Award – Freddie Warner – Complete Muppet for loosing his head!
Colts fail to show for the big one
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 1, Radlett Village 9
HASFL Junior Qtr Final Sunday 12 December 2010
Despite playing for a place in the semi final of the Herts Advertiser Junior Cup Division 5 leaders Harpenden Colts found themselves in the position of barely being able to field 11 players and consequently crashed 9-1 to division 4 outfit Radlett Village with Glen Turner pulling an early consolation goal for Colts.
Junior Cup optimism soon dissipated into a scene from a “Nightmare at Christmas” as the OB Reserves received a pummelling normally reserved for out of condition boxers leaning heavily on the ringside ropes. Within 20 minutes, Radlett had ripped the heart out of the Reserves midfield with an incisive passing game. Creating space, the opposition sensed the distress of a wounded animal and gouged deep into the psyche of a demoralised team, whereupon a makeshift defence capitulated. Radlett established a 4-0 lead before the Reserves managed to put their first passing move together. Moving wide on the left, Dan Hall received a pass from MoM Sam Lewis and began a move that saw Glen Turner narrowly miss from 20 yards out. Unfortunately, this first half highlight was not to be repeated, and Radlett stormed back to claim another 3 goals before half time. A consolation goal came Colts way in the 30th minute, with a fine solo effort from Glen Turner who turned the Radlett defence inside out before picking his spot past a frantic keeper.
Low confidence, a lack of self belief, poor control of the ball, bad positional sense and a makeshift defence all contributed to a first half drubbing, and a weary team did not relish a further 45 minutes against an effervescent Radlett. However, 2 team changes, and a revamped outlook saw a very different colts team enter the second half fray. Sam Lewis, leading by example urged his team on, and almost immediately Nick Waters and Adam Thomas came to life attacking the Radlett defence. This brought a previously quiet Alex D into the game, who started to dictate the style and pace of the game. Confidence crept back into the team, and some of the exuberance that has epitomised previous Colts performances came back. Chances started to be created, and the defence and midfield looked more resilient. Having brought on Andrew Cannons and Paul Turner at half time, with 15 minutes left and a moral 2nd half victory in sight, the final substitution was made. Unlike half time it was not quite as inspired as Radlett pilfered 2 more goals, getting behind a defence that was now playing a very high line.
Whilst Colts certainly had a much improved second half, some harsh lessons were learnt in terms of what is still required before the Reserves can confidently embrace thoughts of promotion. And, should promotion materialise, Radlett demonstrated what awaits in Division 4.
Oaks washed away by Waters
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 1, Oaks Reserves 0
Reserve Cup Qtr Final Sunday 21 November 2010
A depleted and reshuffled Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves had to battle all the way in this Reserves Cup Quarter Final match against a much improved Oaks Reserves side but they eased into the final with a well taken 2nd half strike from midfielder Nick Waters to win 1-0. Captain and Man of the Match Chris Sheridan was outstanding in the Colts midfield well supported by excellent work by fellow midfielder Alex Dennehy and striker Freddie Warner who unselfishly lead the line.
A depleted Reserves squad faced a determined Oaks side intent on reaching the semi finals of the Reserve Cup. A testing surface, and strong north easterly wind added to the contest facing the Reserves. Undaunted the Reserves braced themselves for the inevitable Oaks onslaught in the first 10 minutes. True to form the Oaks launched themselves into a predictable long ball game, though unlike the previous meeting between the 2 teams there was, initially, more steel to their midfield tackling as they tried to deny the Reserves the opportunity to develop their pass and move play. The long ball strategy, whilst not unduly challenging, put early pressure on Graham and Simon. However, Graham soon had the measure of Barry Potts for pace, and Simon contained him through reading of his game and solid tackles. When the Oaks forwards did get behind the back 4, Ricky in his own unique style tidied up, clearing the lines and screaming Braveheart style at his team mates.
Settling into a workmanlike pattern of play – much of it dictated by a heavy pitch – the Reserves added a touch of guile to their play, and with some incisive passing created 3 excellent chances. Two fell to Freddie Warner, a powerful header and a rasping shot that drew excellent saves from the Oaks keeper. The other fell to Man of the Match Chris Sheridan, whose fiercely struck shot hit the crossbar. Half time and a nil nil stalemate.
A few words of wisdom, and the Reserves were ready to up the ante. The Oaks changed their formation, and sensing that an advantage could be gained, Chris and Connor, supported by Alex and Nick, broke up the play. Unfortunately, having contributed a good holding game, Lewis P succumbed to a persistent groin injury, and Glen entered the fray. Soon after, a tactical substitution brought Lewis K on for Connor, and the fresh impetus brought an instant reward. Driving forward from defence, a pass, via the midfield, found Freddie, who under pressure held the play up. Sensing a wide run by Nick, Freddie delivered, unselfishly, a pass from which Nick deftly shot past the keeper in the 60th minute.
The remaining 30 minutes, whilst tense, failed to produce any more goals, though good football in trying conditions continued to prevail. With a tiring opposition, Colts ability to create space, ensured the Oaks were under constant pressure – down the flanks as well as through the midfield. However, a resilient back line continued to thwart these efforts. As time and space worked in the colts favour, Sam and Dan, were able to move forward with relative ease, showing that they along with Simon and Graham could combine with midfield. Pushing forward, Dan saw an opening, only for Gnomeo Warner to tackle him and see a free kick awarded to the Oaks. Maintaining this pressure, Colts won a free kick 20 yards away from goal with some 10 minutes remaining. An opportunity that had Freddie not intervened, Alex would have relished. Unfortunately, an excitable Freddie Warner blasted the ball over the bar. Whilst no disadvantage to the Colts ensued, it was a timely reminder to all that opportunities such as these, where only one goal separated the teams, should not be wasted. A late flurry of attacks from Oaks raised the blood pressure. However, Oaks were curtailed through timely tackles and ineptitude. The whistle signified the end of the game, and a tired, yet ecstatic Colts team, savoured victory.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Freddie Warner for a crunching ball winning tackle on his own player!
Dennehy delivers trouble at Mill
Cottonmill 2, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 5
League Division 5 Sunday 14 November 2010
League leaders Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves extended their lead with a hard worked 5 – 2 over second placed side Cottonmill with a hat-trick by Alex Dennehy and singles by Huw Trevor and Lewis Paul. Man of the match Nick Waters was outstanding on the Colts flanks with the win underpinned by a solid defensive display by defenders Huw Trevor and Jamie Gunson.
A game of contrasting styles, with Colts settling into a rhythm and shape geared to pass, move and support. Conversely Cottonmill looked to seize an opportunity by pushing the ball forward quickly for their 2 forwards to run onto and exploit space behind the Colt’s back four. Cottonmill pushed this strategy hard in the first 20 minutes, and occasionally exposed Colt’s lack of cover. A degree of ineptitude on Cottonmill ‘s part, and good recovery prevented any real damage. Colts continued to work the ball, with the left hand side pairing of Trevor (jnr) and Waters making headway. Slick passing, and good vision brought Dennehy and Sheridan into the game, who ensured that Cannons and Easterbrook saw plenty of the ball to ask questions of the Cottonmill defence. The long ball approach by Cottonmill, though irritating, was dealt with competently, and the back four sensibly passed their way out of trouble. Unfortunately a lapse in concentration when moving forward allowed Cottonmill to pick up a loose ball, and find their left wing with a classic long lofted pass – a hoof to the un-initiated. An exposed defence and keeper were found wanting as Cottonmill scored to take a 1-0 lead.
Not ideal for Colts, but a timely wake up call. Responding positively Waters meandered through the Cottonmill midfield and defence to show that Colts were not going to give in easily. Regaining shape and poise, Colts combined spirit and technique that began to prise open Cottonmill in the way a skilled chef prepares an oyster to be consumed with panache. Moving the ball quickly from defence to midfield, Colts gained a free kick just outside the penalty box. Calmly Dennehy placed the ball, lifted his head, picked his spot, and, deliberately looking for the deflection off a Cottonmill back, got Colts back into the game with a 37th minute goal. Rather than be satisfied with a 1-1 halftime score line, Colts continued to press. Receiving the ball on the left, Waters glided past 2 players before crossing to Easterbrook, who deftly (for such a huskily built forward) set Dennehy up for his 2nd goal on 43 minutes.
A welcome respite allowed Colts to gather their thoughts and catch their breath as strategy and tactics were honed for the second half. Cottonmill were put under pressure from the off – with both full backs combining well with their midfield teammates. Opportunities began to emerge as space in midfield was created. Picking up on a loose ball, Dennehy started off on a mazy run which initially looked to be going nowhere. A fortuitous bounce, and he rounded the Cottonmill players to score a good solo effort. 55 minutes gone and Colts were 3-1 in the lead. Powering down but still in control, Colts strived to increase their lead. Mindful that Cottonmill were still looking to get the ball behind the Colt’s defence, the back four dropped a little bit deeper. In doing so, Cottonmill forced the foul, and from the resultant free kick, Figg did well to make the save. In pushing the ball onto the bar, Colts thought they were safe, but Cottonmill were quick to react and forced the ball over the line; 3-2. Galvanised, Colts piled on the pressure knowing they had allowed Cottonmill an undeserved lifeline. Collecting the ball, Figg unleashed a Bomber Command like drop kick. Cannons back header flicked the ball to Lewis Paul. 4-2 with 10 minutes to go. Not satisfied, with this two goal cushion, Lewis Paul’s incisive pass found Huw Trevor wide on the left. A drop of the shoulders, left foot trickery and an open goal beckoned. 5-2 as Huw scored his first of the season on 85 minutes.
Colts had secured an excellent victory to go 7 points clear at the top of the table. However, the drama had one final scene. Finding himself in space, Huw received an inch perfect pass. Six yards form goal, classic strikers body shape, left foot twitching – Gnomeo found a home as the ball was blasted ceremoniously over the bar.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Huw Trevor with blast over the bar from 6 yards!
Dennehy do well again!
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 5, Wheathampstead 89 Reserves 1
League Division 5 Sunday 7 November 2010
League leaders Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves cruised to a comfortable 5 – 1 win over Wheathampstead 89 Reserves with a hat trick by man of the match Alex Dennehy and singles by Marc Oakley and Adam Thomas. Colts did not have things all their own way and stand in keeper Lewis Komodromou had to make some smart saves before the points were secured.
An excellent team effort, saw the Reserves continue their winning ways, though occasional lapses in concentration showed minds were thinking ahead to the forthcoming fixture against title contenders Cottonmills. Shaking off early nerves, and uncharacteristic poor first touches, the Reserves eased into a position of dominance. Slick passing brought all players into the game, and chances in front of goal began to accumulate. Adam Thomas found himself clear 3 times in the first 25 minutes, but a combination numbers in defence, and good positional sense by the keeper, denied him. However, a 21st minute free kick from Lewis Paul found Adam in the 6 yard box, from which a well controlled first touch gave the Reserves a 1-0 lead. Resting on their laurels, Colts allowed Wheathampstead to forge forward, and following the ensuing corner, Wheathampstead sneaked an equaliser. This lapse in concentration was quickly rectified as Colts, in determined mood applied swift retribution with Alex Dennehy’s 1st goal. Picking up a loose ball, he glided past his marker, cut inside from the left and from 20 yards unleashed a curling shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net. Inspired, Sherri urged his players forward, and leading by example urged his team on. Collecting a loose ball, he emulated Nureyev in his prime. Turning to his right, sidestepping his marker, his right footed pass found his Pavlova, resulting in Marc Oakley scoring his 2nd goal in 2 games. 34 minutes gone, 3-1 to the Reserves.
The 2nd half continued in much the same vein as the latter part of the 1st. Colts never really looked under pressure, and nullified the potential effect of the opposition number 10. Pushing forward 2 further goals game via Alex Dennehy, a 48th minute through ball from Nick Waters picked out Alex Dennehy for colts 4th , and a Marc Oakley cross in the 60th minute provided Alex with his hat trick.
Further chances ensued, but sound goalkeeping from the Wheathampstead guardian denied Sherri and Colts further goals.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Steve Easterbrook with a missed 6 yard tap in!
Marc Oakley makes 300th appearance as Colts fell Oaks
Oaks Reserves 1, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 5
League Division 5 Sunday 31 October 2010
League leaders Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves returned to winning ways after last weeks shock defeat with a comfortable 5-1 win over local rivals Oaks reserves with a brace of penalties by Andrew Cannons and singles from Steven Easterbrook, Sam Lewis and Marc Oakley who celebrated his 300th appearance for the club. Man of the match Huw Trevor was outstanding overlapping at full back well supported by impressive displays by central midfielder Connor McGregor and Jamie Gunson at right back.
Andrew Cannons lead the onslaught with an 8th minute penalty, to be followed by a 2nd in the 55th minute. In the intervening period, Sam Lewis (26th minute) scored from a deft Steve Easterbrook flick following a Marc Oakley cross, and Marc Oakley bagged a goal (42nd minute) after Chris Sheridan’s intuitive 30 yard pass split the Oaks midfield ranks. The scoring was completed when Steve Easterbrook rising like a salmon returning to its spawning grounds headed the Reserves 5th goal in the 87th minute. Pushing forward, the Reserves allowed the Oaks a consolation goal just before full time. An intriguing game for the reserves, in so much still smarting from an unusual below par performance against St Albans IFC, the nerves started tingling in the changing room as players realised the intensity this derby fixture engendered. Changing room rituals, and pre match superstitions abounded, and the moment then came to walk the lonely walk to the Rothamstead Bowl. A near capacity of 3 spectators and the occasional dog walker defined the atmosphere in this Hertfordshire hell hole – Sherri was overheard whimpering prior to kick off that the cauldron of Chesterfield Theatre was preferable to what lay ahead.
Limbs twitching, muscles toned and warmed up, the game kicked off. The Reserves began a 40 pass move, for it to break down after 3, allowing the Oaks to begin their long ball strategy, followed by whinging of the highest calibre. A trait pursued throughout the whole game. Nerves receding, the Reserves began to dictate play, and Huw Trevor foraging forward began to bring Nick Waters and the central midfield players into the game. Demonstrating skills akin to Tim Cahill, and those he coached an up and coming Gareth Bale (soon to be a Rams acquisition to replace an aging Colin Todd), he eased his way past Oaks players in all stages of the game. A clever move down the left flank saw the Reserves move the ball into the Oaks penalty area for one of their defenders to go to ground and give away a penalty for handball. Cannons stepped up in the 8th minute and calmly hammered the ball into the net, 1-0. Defensively sound, despite the Oaks efforts to play the long ball down the flanks or through the middle, the Reserves built upon their early confidence, and passed the ball with growing ease. Dictating the play, Connor and Sherri constantly looked to bring Nick and Marc into the game. Moves were thwarted, but building slowly from midfield to defence, to midfield and attack gaps opened up for the Reserves. Forcing a corner, Oaks cleared for the ball to fall at Marc’s feet – firing the ball back into the fray, Steve, flicked the ball setting up Sam Lewis for the 2nd goal in the 26th minute. Deforestation was on the cards. Play continued, with all members of the team contributing positively, so much so that, Huw’s pass finding Sherri, eliciting a 30 yard cross field pass to Marc, who ripped into the Oaks defence, placing the ball calmly past the Oak’s keeper into the net. 3-0 at 42 minutes, and half time just round the corner.
The second half saw Oaks begin to tighten up, and for some 20 minutes, despite a 2nd Cannons penalty in the 55th minute, looked as if they could get their game together. Sam Brooker and Haggis looked menacing as they tried desperately to bring their forwards into the game. SF stood firm, the offside flag at the ready, easily overcoming the Oaks pained looks and abuse. Tiredness crept into the Oaks game, and the Reserves again asserted themselves. Jamie, Dan, Sam and Huw, displaying almost telepathic resonance, pushed forward form their defensive third, consistently exposing the Oaks lack of cover. Marc, Lewis K, Nick and Sherri, recipients of this combination play, sucked the last remaining vestiges of energy out of a now lacklustre Oaks midfield. So much so, that a cross from Huw, having begun another meandering run down the left, picked out an ambling Steve Easterbrook, whose header in the 87th minute gave the Reserves a 5-0 lead. Last minute complacency, saw the defence pushing forward to allow a nimble footed Oaks forward the opportunity to score a well taken consolation goal – arching the ball over an advancing Ricky Figg. A comfortable victory, but one from which the team needs to build on as a top of the table clash with Cottonmill beckons.
Colts crash dents title hopes
St. Albans IFC 3, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 0
League Division 5 Sunday 24 October 2010
League leaders Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves could just not get going in this match against mid table St. Albans IFC and they paid the price for their indifference going behind to a fluke goal and then getting caught twice on the break as they chased the game to crash 3-0 and put a big dent in their title hopes. Front man Adam Thomas worked hard for Colts as they tried to get back into the game with Ricky Figg again impressing in the Colts goal.
[Silver Fox to make up the full story].
Wannabe Warner in unholy trinity as Easter Cannons
Sandridge & Harvesters Res. 0, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 9
League Division 5 Sunday 17 October 2010
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves maintained top spot in Division 5 as they hit a hat trick of hat tricks to beat bottom side Sandridge & Harvesters Reserves 9-0 with hat-tricks by grandfather Andrew Cannons, man of the match Steven (sunny side up) Easterbrook, and Freddie (I Wannabe good like holy James) Warner. Marc Oakley was outstanding in midfield for Colts setting up the win with numerous probing passes and forward runs with keeper Ricky Figg making an outstanding save to keep his 3rd clean sheet of the season.
The Reserves began the game in attacking mode, playing 3 at the back and 3 up front as they looked to emulate or better Cottonmills performance the previous week. In the 5th minute, forcing the corner, Glen Turner delivered a peach of a cross for Steve Easterbrook to spring forth like James Bond ejecting from his Aston Martin and head home the Reserves first goal. Continuing their dominance, Steve back heeled for Andrew to fire home an 18 yard shot past the bewildered keeper. Before breath could be drawn, Andrew’s deft chest pass found Steve meandering forward like the Serengeti wilder beast, who, chesting the ball down volleyed home a left foot shot; 3-0 to the Reserves. The new boots and panties, bought for the occasion, were working their magic.
A period of less dramatic play followed, with the team combining well to create chances as well as keep a tight disciplined shape to deny Sandridge any hope of launching a counter attack. Pinning Sandridge in their own half, Paul Turner and Nick Waters dictated play, passing the ball for Marc Oakley and Glen Turner to harass the overworked Sandridge defence. Ably assisted by Simon Cooper and Huw Trevor, the plays down the flanks again exposed Sandridge. Adam Thomas with some silky runs, Steve and Andrew bludgeoning their way forward, laid waste to a Sandridge side quickly losing semblance of shape and enthusiasm for the game. Knocking the ball ala Butch Wilkins, Nick Waters found Marc Oakley, whose flighted pass found Andrew chasing down the ball as the keeper fumbled to notch his 2nd of the game.
The 2nd half saw a change in personnel, together with the Reserves losing some of their momentum. 23 minutes elapsed before the Reserves found their 1st half rhythm, with Steve gratefully accepting his 3rd goal of the match from a Marc Oakley corner. Not to be outdone, Andrew latched onto a scuffed shot from Freddie Warner to score his third and the Reserves 6th goal. With 15 minutes to go, the 2nd of the father son combinations kicked in, and Trevor Silver Fox came on to add experience and guile to the Reserves forward line. The inspired change saw 3 further goals in the Reserves favour, scored by Freddie Warner, from assists by Glen Turner, Sam Lewis and Marc Oakley, all of which began with the pivotal role played by the silver assassin. As the team made their way to the dressing room, Steve could be heard humming “these boots are made for scoring”.
Gnome-where to hide Award – Adam Thomas with a missed 4 yard sitter scooped over the bar!
Depleted Colts run out of steam
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 3, Rickmansworth Athletic 7
Herts County Junior Cup Round 2 Sunday 10 October 2010
A much depleted Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves were looking good in this Herts County Junior Cup match as they went 3-1 up with a brace by Freddie Warner and a single by Lewis Paul but 2 bizarre own goals and a lack of fitness saw them fall away to finally crash 7-3 against a useful Rickmansworth side. Man of the match Jamie Gunson was outstanding for his work rate in the Colts midfield well supported by the guile of Paul Turner.
Colts OB reserves will have to wait until 2011/12 before they can impose themselves as a leading side in Hertfordshire County, as they crashed out of the Junior County Cup to Rickmansworth Athletic 7-3. A side bristling with confidence, marking the return of Simon Cooper, Jamie Gunson, Paul Turner et al, along with debuts by Paul “Gillie” Gilmartin and Tom Peasnell, attacked Rickmansworth from the start. Early dominance proved decisive in the 15th minute as a Paul Turner free kick found Lewis Paul on the by-line, who instinctively dragged the ball back and found a grateful Freddie Warner who guided the ball past an exasperated defence and flailing Rickmansworth goalkeeper. The Reserves continued to move the ball fluently, finding space on both flanks, as well as moving the ball astutely through the midfield duo of Connor McGregor and Paul Turner. In the 28th minute, a through ball from Connor McGregor found Lewis Paul, who, following sound advice form the old pro himself (SF) slid a dinky little shot through the keepers legs. Fortuitous the goal may have been, but a 2-0 lead was nothing less than the Reserves deserved. Confidence high, passing and combination play continued apace, only for high hopes to be dashed as a disputed offside goal allowed Rickmansworth to half their deficit. The 2 goal advantage was soon restored in the 39th minute, with Freddie grabbing the 2nd of his goals after a defensive lapse allowed him to curl the ball into the net from 18 yards. Again though, Rickmansworth were allowed back into the game just before half time, as lessons re picking up players and denying the opposition space dissipated with Rickmansworth pressing in numbers. A shot at goal caught a defensive boot, whereby a looping ball eluded Ricky Figg to take the score to 3-2.
A half time breather, the scene was set for a fascinating 2nd half. For a further 15 minutes the Reserves matched Rickmansworth, despite an equaliser being scored. However, the last 30 minutes saw the Reserves struggle with tired legs, injuries and a loss in confidence as Rickmansworth exploited the pace and know how of their wide forward players. The introduction of Tom Peasnell and the SF himself failed to stop the avalanche of attacks as the game neared its conclusion. Credit to the team though, especially Jamie Gunson and Simon Cooper both of whom toiled tirelessly until the end, and a mention in despatches to Paul Turner who gallantly struggled through the 2nd half after being so influential in the 1st.
Super-Sub Cannons fires a brace
Sandridge 1, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 4
League Division 5 Sunday 3 October 2010
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves had to come from behind to regain top place with a hard worked 4-1 win over Sandridge with a brace by super-sub Andrew Cannons and singles from Sam Lewis and Adam Thomas. Colts did not have it all their own way and man of the match defender Dan Hall had to be outstanding at the back for Colts well supported by another great display by Ricky Figg in the Colts goal.
Four league games into the season, and the Reserves continue to build upon the foundations of good play that Colts are renowned for, coolness on the ball, a flowing, passing game, explosive pace and incisive passing to open up opposition teams. Sunday’s game against Sandridge was no exception, though well timed tackles and defensive awareness by Dan Hall and Sam Lewis paid dividends as Sandridge occasionally showed that the Reserves were susceptible to direct play. A lapse in concentration after 10 minutes saw the Reserves fall behind to a disputed goal. However, picking themselves up, regaining their shape, and much cajoling from Chris Sheridan, ensured the Reserves endeavour restored the natural order of play. Some good supporting work, and combined play between Alex Dennehy, Chris Sheridan, Marc Oakley and Adam Thomas showed that it was only a question of time before the Reserves would equalise and go into a deserved lead. The equaliser started from the back with Huw Trevor finding Lewis K, who, drilled in an exquisite left footed cross for Adam Thomas to fire home.
Some half time words (of wisdom – sic) saw the Reserves rejuvenated for the 2nd half. The Reserves began to dominate, but fell short when a clinical finish was required. As time edged away, frustration began to show in some of the passing and attempts on goal. Having spurned chances, the Reserves got a fortuitous break in the 75th minute as Andrew Cannons picked up a loose ball, and in attempting to round the keeper found himself chewing the cud before calmly putting away the resultant penalty. 2-1 to the Reserves, and party time. A Huw Trevor corner found a majestic Sam Lewis soar above the defence in the 80th minute to make it 3-1, and prior to Andy Cannons claiming his 2nd goal, in the 89th minute, following good play between Lewis K and Alex Dennehy, big Steve, felled like a mighty Oak in an attempt to emulate Andrew Cannons, failed to convince the referee – unlike the Shirra – that a 2nd penalty should have been awarded. A deserved 4-1 victory, and a return to the top of Division 5.
Blazing Cannons fires Colts into Qtr Final
Caledon Thistle (D4) 1, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 3
League Junior Cup 2nd Round Sunday 26 September 2010
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves cruised into the quarter final round of the Herts. Advertiser Junior Cup with a deserved 3-1 win against division 4 outfit Caledon Thistle with goals from Marc Oakley, Freddie Warner and a well taken header by Andrew Cannons. Man of the Match Alex Dennehy was outstanding in the Colts midfield well supported by Dan Hall at the back for Colts.
The Old boys were very much up for this fixture, and from the outset put Caledon under pressure. Huw Trevor moved the ball well down the left flank, bringing Komotose into the game, and then linked well with MoM Alex Dennehy. Alex was a constant thorn in Caledon’s side, and as well as surging forward with the ball, distributed his passes with aplomb! A couple of lapses of concentration allowed Caledon to get behind the defence, but where Ricky Figg was found wanting, Dan Hall did a superb covering job. 7 minutes before half time, Colts passing game completely split Caledon, and Komotose, awaking form his slumbers, tore down the left flank, delivering a fine cross for Marc Oakley to side foot into the net. 1-0 to the Old Boys, and a thoroughly deserved half time lead.
A slight revamp in formation in the second half brought immediate dividends, as Frodo Warner, his defensive shackles removed, found himself onside, and the recipient of a 54th minute cross from Marc Oakley. A timely interception that even the old SF could have converted, was coolly despatched; 2-0 and victory looked assured. Not content, the Old Boys continued to move forward, playing some fine pass and move football. Sherry’s off the ball running allowed Alex to thrive in the middle of midfield, and before long the Old Boys, again, threatened ominously. A quick ball out of defence found Sherry at his marauding best. Spotty Dog could not have done better. Arms flailing, legs like pistons, Sherry moved down the right wing, connecting brilliantly, and flighting a cross so well timed, Andy Cannons only had to connect, to head home a glorious 3rd goal. Cruising, Colts allowed Caledon to move forward, but woeful finishing let them down, until 7 minutes from time, an innocuous attack saw a well taken header pull a goal back. Many positives, and a well deserved 3-1 win.
Figg secures the Crown
AFC Crown 0, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 1
League Division 5 Sunday 19 September 2010
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves went top of Division 5 with a hard worked 1-0 win over AFC Crown courtesy of a 24th minute poached headed goal by Lewis Paul from a Chris Sheridan corner. Steven Easterbrook was in impressive form leading the line for Colts whilst keeper Ricky Figg was outstanding in the Colts goal in securing the narrow win with a string of great takes.
Colts started very brightly, moving the ball with confidence and vigour. Steve Easterbrook looked in ominous form with an early pass finding Marc Oakley on the right hand side for the first shot on goal. Pressure continued, but AFC defended stoically, and once they gained their 2nd wind, constantly knocked long balls down the channels and the centre of the pitch. Nervous defending allowed the AFC forwards to get behind the defence, but Ricky Figg – the Old Boys MoM – was not to be denied on his debut, and calmly collected ball after ball. Settling down, the Old Boys tried to gain momentum, but the long ball tactics of AFC thwarted the enduring urgings of Chris Sheridan and Nick Waters to “calm the game down” and “put a foot on it”. However, Sherry livened up proceedings with his impression of the 1960s TV series Wooden Tops scampering after a ball down the right wing, followed by an ambitious Berbatov overhead kick – albeit unsuccessful!
The second half saw Steve Easterbrook continue to win everything in the air, though some strange referring decisions bemused AFC and Old Boys alike. When the Old Boys did get the ball on the ground, AFC looked hapless and forlorn, relying on their keeper to deny Marc Oakley, Steve Easterbrook et al. With 4 minutes to go, 9 extra minutes were added on by the referee, and AFC’s pressure nearly brought reward – but Dan Hall, Sponge and Ricky stood firm. As a consequence, the Reserves recorded their 2nd victory and 2nd clean sheet of the season.
Green defending costs Colts dear
Greenwood Park 2, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 2
League Division 5 Sunday 12 September 2010
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves maintained their unbeaten start with a rugged 2-2 draw against Greenwood Park with Goals from Steven Easterbrook and Sam Lewis but they twice let their hosts back on terms by failing to defend decisively when under pressure. Sam Lewis was outstanding for Colts in central defence with Jamie Gunson dominant in midfield.
A 10th minute strike from Steve Easterbrook saw Colts OB Reserves exert early dominance over Greenwood. Adam Thomas’s precision pass set Steve up for his first league goal of the season. Fending off close attention from 2 defenders, and aware of the advancing goalkeeper, Steve calmly placed the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Colts were setting themselves up for a 2nd victory, but Greenwood were not to be denied. Their persistent pressure, and astute use of wide play, saw Colts wilt and concede an equaliser, despite chances by Lewis Paul going wide or saved by the keeper. Holding on, Colts repelled several attacks prior to half time, and on balance 1-1 was a reasonable reflection of efforts from both teams.
Refreshed, and with concentration restored, Colts begin the 2nd half brightly, moving the ball confidently between midfield and attack. Colts passing and movement started to bring rewards as Greenwood failed to deal with Colts pace and co-ordinated play. Andrew Canons and Glen Turner both came close before a Marc Oakley throw in found Sam Lewis loitering with intent, and converting with a header in the 60th minute to give Colts a 2-1 lead. Back in the lead, Colts continued their dominance, but their creativity went unrewarded, and at times allowed Greenwood to counter attack and put Colin Arnsby, in the Colts goal, under pressure. Eventually, Greenwood counter attacked with purpose, and showed how to execute this manoeuvre with aplomb. Exploiting space down their left, their quick thinking and movement caught Colts off guard, resulting in a well taken equaliser that Colin could only watch as it left him and the defence flatfooted.
Much as they tried thereafter, Colts were unable to convert possession and further pressure into a third goal, the final pass or cross often leaving much to be desired. 2-2 at the final whistle, with all ruing missed opportunities and lapses in concentration – more lessons to be learnt, but many positives to take away and build on.
Dukes blown away by blazing Cannons
Dukes 0, Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 4
League Division 5 Sunday 5 September 2010
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves marked their debut to the Herts Advertiser Sunday Football League with a comfortable 4-0 victory with goals from Marc Oakley, Andy Shirra, Andrew Cannons and Adam Thomas with Sam Lewis also in solid form for Colts at the back.
An apprehensive first half for the Reserves allowed the Dukes to occasionally stroll though midfield and expose the flanks, as their 2 wide players took advantage of a rookie defence. However, Jamie Gunson urged the players forward, and led by example in concentrating the minds as the team’s shape gradually emerged. Fine defensive tackles provided the impetus to move the ball wide, bringing Oakley and Shirra into the game. Their presence provided the opening the Reserves required. Forcing a corner in the 15th minute, Oakley’s deft kick evaded all and sneaked into the net, 1-0. 15 minutes later Shirra, took the ball to the byline, cut inside only to be cynically brought down. Penalty kick and Shirra’s conversion made it 2-0. A frustrating 15 minutes to half time saw both teams fail to control the ball effectively to make further inroads into the score.
Come the 2nd half, and try as they could, Dukes were unable to penetrate a rejuvenated Reserves team. Substitutions followed, and Cannons and Thomas both scored on their debuts for Colts Old Boys. Cannons moved smartly onto a Palmer through ball, chipping the keeper from 25 yards, and Thomas ran onto a pass from Lewis to round the keeper and calmly claim the Reserves 4th goal. A fairly convincing victory, but lessons to be learnt as sterner tests will undoubtedly follow.
Colts fail to answer call to Arms
Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves 4, Harpenden Arms 5
Pre-Season Friendly Sunday 29 August 2010
HARCOB Reserves unbeaten run came to an end when after dominating the early part of the game which if they had taken their chances would have put them 5 goals ahead in the first 30 minutes they surrendered a 2-0 lead and despite goals from Sam Lewis, Steven Easterbrook, Freddie Warner and Andy Shirra poor defending allowed Arms to get back in the game and then take the spoils.
An early 2 goal lead was squandered by the Reserves as careless defending and loss of concentration and defensive shape allowed the Harpenden Arms to pull back to 2-2 and then move into a 4-2 lead. However, the Reserves, clawed their way back to 4-4, only to see a dreadful defensive mix up let the Arms score a late winner, and defeat the Reserves 5-4.
Early pressure saw Harpenden Colts Old Boys Reserves miss 3 chances, one of which was well saved by the Arms keeper from an alert Freddie Warner, However, in the 24th minute, Sam Lewis converted a scrappy goal form a Marc Oakley corner, to put the Reserves into a deserved 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Freddie Warner took his 4th chance of the match to make it 2-0 in the 26th