Match Report: Colney Heath 0-2 Biggleswade United
By Leon Waite – @leonwaite98
United overcame ten-man Colney Heath- who continue to prop up the division- 2-0 on Saturday to go ninth in the table with games in hand on the majority of sides above them. It was unconvincing and largely unattractive from the visitors but goals early and late in the second half were enough to secure another win.
It was a disjointed affair from the outset. A match characterised by endeavour and commitment rather than any discernible patterns of play and the hosts benefitted from a hopeful ball in behind which Lee Armitt latched onto, only to see his tame lob cleared before it could reach the goal line.
United were perpetually careless in possession and needed the experience and anticipation of the returning Martin Russell at the heart of the defence to intervene on several occasions as The Magpies almost broke clear.
The imposing centre-back almost opened the scoring at the other end when he headed Nick Elliot’s free-kick wide.
That free-kick was won by Elliot after a rare well-constructed passing sequence that culminated in Jaiden Irish finding space on the left and having his shot blocked- Elliot was then clipped as the ball arrived at his feet.
The home side had the ball in the net when a headed effort was dubiously disallowed for offside and should have had the ball in the net when Armitt again attempted to guide his shot over goalkeeper Robbie Ponting- he struck the crossbar on this occasion.
United boss Cristian Colas needed to instil some vigour into his players at the break following an enervated first-half display- although his halftime lecture could have been abated had Claudio Ofosu’s terrific volley not narrowly evaded the far corner.
Whatever the Spaniard did say during the interval, it achieved the desired the result as minutes into the second period Irish’s delivery was expertly finished with his head by Alix Girdlestone.
Colney responded with a succession of balls into United’s defensive third and remained in the ascendancy as the away side failed to gather any momentum after taking the lead. And for the second time that afternoon Ryan Thompson’s men had a goal ruled out for offside.
If they were going to find an equaliser it was likely to come through Armitt and he missed an excellent chance, turning his header wide despite being free in the box.
So when the striker was sent off for a late challenge on midfield linchpin Gareth Hunt, the task of restoring parity in the contest as well as preventing United from finding a second became additionally tough.
Ofosu forced a top save from Magpies’ keeper Harry Smart but he was powerless to stop Elliot sneaking in to convert from close range from the resulting corner.
Clearly not content with his fifth goal in four league outings, the former Aston Villa academy player dragged a shot wide and tested Smart once again as United had to settle for just the 2-0 victory.
One of those games where two points could have easily been dropped had certain instances within the encounter transpired differently- if the hosts’ goal in the first-half stood, for example. However, through persistence and a smattering of quality United found a way to win that perhaps they wouldn’t have in the past and can look ahead to a testing match at Harpenden Town on Tuesday night, KO 7.45pm.