Sunday 28th December 2008 - Grays Athletic 1 - 4 Histon FC - BSP
5 minutes of Madness Sends Stutes Clear in Second
Within the space of 5 minutes Histon earned themselves three points when they scored three goals in quick succession. On a typically windy and bitterly cold post Christmas evening, Grays had been ahead for most of the game after Ishmael Welsh drifted through the Histon defence to fire the Gravelmen ahead. But goals from Langston, Midson, Knight-Percival and Reeves in the second half sealed an important three points for the Stutes at the New Recreation ground.
Grays didn't have the best of starts to the game, with Steve Arnold looking decidedly shaky in the opening quarter. He dropped a ball after just three minutes, nearly allowing John Kennedy the opportunity to lift a header over him, but he recovered well and took it well. The hosts then had their first opening of the afternoon, but Leon McKenzie fired well wide. Thurgood was then brought down outside of the box, but the free kick amounted to nothing, and the delivery was easily cleared.
The goal keeper’s frailties were shown again after 15 minutes, with a miscued goal-kick being picked up by a retreating Ada. The centre back tried his luck, but his shot found its way to Midson, only for the forward to drag his shot comfortably wide of the mark. Although Histon had the best of the opening couple of minutes, they were limited to speculative efforts midway through the half, with the Essex side dealing with the Stutes aerial threat aptly. If it wasn't for some first class defending from Lanre Oyebanjo, the hosts could have taken the lead. But the young Republic of Ireland international got the ball to safety with a fantastic defensive header at the back post.
Then on 37 minutes Grays delivered a sucker punch as Histon allowed number 11, Ishmael Welsh time and space to pick through the Stutes’ defence and hammer home into the far corner, beyond the helpless Joe Welsh. It was a punch in the stomach for the Stutes as they allowed Grays Athletic to get back into the game, and after they closed out the half by keeping possession from Histon, a change was needed.
With no changes at half time Histon sought that early response, and nearly got one 6 minutes in. Great work by Midson near the by-line released Reeves who's ball in evaded an oncoming Wright by a small margin. Surely a sign of intent that the Stutes were close to that next crucial goal.
Grays weren't out of it though, and on 56 Welch needed to be alert as lively Leon McKenzie pounced on a loose ball inside the box, only to shoot straight at the Stutes' stopper. The tenacious McKenzie looked eager to one handedly drag his team two goals ahead still, as he took on three Histon players to force Welch into a decent save at his near post. Still in pursuit of that elusive second goal, Welch was in good form as he held on to a rasping belter from villain Scott Forrester, who caused Gareth Gwillim to go off after only 20 minutes after a tussle near the advertising boards.
But on 63, club man Neil Andrews was told to warm up, to the relief of the 100 travelling Stutes supporters. As if almost expectedly he changed the game instantly, Matthew Langston grabbing the Stutes equaliser with a towering header. This wasn't time to sit back however, and Histon got another two minutes later on 71. Midson was played through, and the front man couldn't have placed his lofted shot any better as he applied a deft touch to send the ball sailing into the net, over the oncoming Arnold.
Histon didn't seem content with just the one goal advantage, and with Grays sitting back they made them pay with another. Lackadaisical defending to say the least from Grays allowed Nathaniel Knight Percival time and space to guide a glancing a header high into the goal, to all but end Grays hopes of salvaging something from the game.
To compound the host’s fury at conceding three in 5 minutes, Reeves put pay to yet more poor defending by securing three points with a tap in at the far post. It ended the goal scoring spree that came from Neil Andrews’s introduction, and it sent the mighty Stutes clear in second as Torquay lost out to Kidderminster. Torquay, who missed an injury-time penalty, missed a whole host of chances during the game and lost ground on Histon who now sit in second. The Stutes are 2 points ahead of Kidderminster who, following their win at Plainmoor, leapfrogged their opponents into third.