Regular Stutes-watchers may have thought that recent performances had been better than results but even the most optimistic supporter can’t have been expecting everything to click so emphatically yesterday away from home against a team pushing for a play off place.
Manager Lance Key was forced to make a number of changes to his side as he juggled with injuries – Lewis Clayton, Pat Bexfield, Elkanah Sibanda, Niall Conroy, Ross Munro and Jordan Traynier were all missing whilst Marcus Hall and Will Gardner had returned to Soham during the week. The Gaffer brought in midfielder Shaun Jenkins on Dual Registration from Fulbourn on Friday night and called up youngsters Olly Habergham and Adam Capel into the match day squad.
With only three defenders available a change of shape was required with three central defenders, Danny Gould and Matty Allan moving to wide midfield roles.
The game started well for us and within five minutes we were ahead. Matty Allan made progress on the left hand side before finding Jake Chambers-Shaw supporting in the middle. Chambers-Shaw wasted little time in playing in Ben Yeomans and the striker did the rest with a neat side footed finish to give us an early lead.
That lead lasted less than ten minutes though as the hosts turned the game around with two goals in as many minutes. A free kick came in from the right and Steve Gentle got there ahead of Chapman to head the home side level and soon after another header came back down off the bar. Chapman reacted well to save the follow up but the onrushing Rovers had men in the box and Alex O’Brien forced the ball home to make it 2-1.
Heads could have dropped but the team showed character and went looking for an equaliser. Matty Allan went close but his shot was deflected narrowly wide and Yeomans had the ball in the net only to be flagged offside and at the break we remained behind.
The second half started quietly and it wasn’t until Key made some changes that the game started to swing our way. Aysa Ourtilbour burst through the home defence at pace soon after coming on and it took a brave save from Todd to deny him an equaliser. Cameron Watson was next to threaten when the big defender turned on a loose ball on the edge of the area and fired a right footed shot first time that just cleared the bar.
The key moment came with 72 minutes on the clock when Gentle deflected a goal bound shot up and over the bar. The Referee initially gave a corner but his Assistant flagged for handball. The penalty was given and Gentle saw red before Yeomans converted the spot kick.
A minute later and we were ahead when Matty Allan curled a right footed shot around the diving Todd to find the corner. Five minutes later and those 20 or so Stutes supporters were in full voice when Max York sent a long throw into the box. Watson headed it on across the 6 yard line where Allan was waiting to smash it home for 4-2.
We sensed victory now and weren’t going to let this one go as we continued to threaten going forward. Jos Gwynne sent a fierce drive from distance arrowing goalwards that took a superb fingertip save from Todd to keep out as the home side left spaces when they pushed forward. Chapman had to be alert to divert a shot around the post as the clock ticked down but as we entered added time Yeomans put the result beyond any doubt, running clear of the defence to calmly finish. We weren’t done yet though and a couple of minutes later Yeomans turned provider, sending Matty Allan racing through to joyfully blast the ball home.
Hat Tricks for both Yeomans and Allan will deservedly grab the headlines of course but the team performance was outstanding, particularly in the second half. We defended well, attacked with real menace and fully deserved a long awaited league victory, a victory that lifts us off the foot of the table and gets us looking forward with optimism.
Histon: Aaron Chapman, Danny Gould (Jos Gwynne 64), Matty Allan, Max York, Tom Moran, Cameron Watson, Harry McGregor, Simon Unwin (Shaun Jenkins 57), Ben Yeomans, Justin Leavers, Jake Chambers-Shaw (Aysa Ourtilbour 57).
Histon subs not used: Adam Capel, Olly Habergham.
Histon yellow cards: Cameron Watson, Ben Yeomans.
Histon goal scorers: Ben Yeomans (5, 72p, 90+1), Matty Allan (73, 78, 90+4).
Barton Rovers: Lewis Todd, Howie Hall, Charlie Smith, Lee Close, Steve Gentle, Paul Andrews, Alex O’Brien (Sean Coughlan 67) , Jordan Wynter, Elliot Bailey, Connor Calcutt (Josh Bamford 67), Billy Adcock (Jimmy Hartley 54).
Barton Rovers subs not used: Kay Bola, Jack Keating.
Barton Rovers yellow cards: Lee Close, Billy Adcock.
Barton Rovers red card: Steve Gentle.
Barton Rovers goal scorers: Steve Gentle (13), Alex O’Brien (15).