CARLTON TOWN 0 HISTON 0
Pitching In Northern Premier League Midlands Division
Saturday 6th November 2021
All the buildup to this match pointed towards it being a home win. You could even go as far as to say it had “home banker” written through it in big, bold letters. Carlton Town has lost just one league match all season and a win could take them to the top of the league depending on results elsewhere. In contrast, the visitors came to the outskirts of Nottingham having lost ten consecutive matches and rooted to the bottom of the table having accumulated just four points from their thirteen matches. The only factor to be decided was the size of the victory rather than the destination of the league points.
Playing into the blustery breeze, Carlton Town looked to get the job done as early as possible, pinning their opponents in their own half for much of the opening 20 minutes. But despite their domination of the ball, the hosts were creating very little. A low cross was glanced wide by an unmarked striker who had just Sam Roach to beat, but surely further chances would follow.
Against all expectations, Histon began to grow into the game and gave hints that they were not there just to make up the numbers. Rhys Thorpe was causing problems for the home defence and set up Luke Lindsay, who tested the home keeper with a shot which he saved with his legs. A spell of Histon pressure resulted in Thorpe planting a header just wide and Finley Wilkinson had a shot charged down. The Stutes were threatening to pull off the unimaginable by snatching the opening goal before the hosts had even registered a shot on target. Had they not read the script? The championship contenders went into the break knowing they had to up their game if they wanted to see off the league’s bottom club.
The pre-match stats were beginning to count for less and less as Histon came out for the second half looking like they had a real chance of ending their losing streak. Chances were few and far between at both ends which suited the visitors as they looked to repel everything Carlton threw at them. Victor Garcia and Ollie Brookes were commanding in the centre of defence, forcing Carlton to turn to their subs bench in the hope of unlocking the Histon defence. On the break, Luke Lindsey reminded the home side that they were not assured of even one point let alone the three they were anticipating. The striker ran onto a Ryan Towner’s long pass and brought a diving one-handed save from the home keeper.
There were concerns among the visiting faithful when Ollie Brookes took a knock to the face during a goalmouth scramble and had to leave the field. Lee Smith stepped up to the mark, filling the void left by Brookes as the Histon goal came under constant bombardment in the final minutes.
As the final whistle blew, the inquest began on how Carlton Town could have failed to take the widely-predicted victory. But there was no doubt that the draw was due to the determination shown by a well organised Histon side that made a mockery of their lowly league position.
The introduction of experienced players such as Ryan Towner, Pat Bexfield and Ollie Brookes has transformed the Histon side into something unrecognisable from earlier in the season and the cameo appearance by Lee Smith hinted at what was yet to come. The upcoming fixtures will be difficult ones for the Stutes but, having proven their capabilities in this battling draw against one of the league leaders, they have shown that nobody can take anything for granted when Histon are in town
Histon: Sam Roach, Sam Collison, Pat Bexfield, Ryan Towner, Victor Garcia, Oliver Brookes (Alex Stevens-Lee 87), Ed Rolph, Bubba Camara, Rhys Thorpe, Finley Wilkinson (Lee Smith 76), Luke Lindsay.
Histon subs not used: Bahador Chizari, Ediz Greengrass, Tobi Lawal.
Histon yellow card: Sam Roach.