Pitching In Northern Premier League Midlands Division
Saturday 12th March 2022


An 87-mile trip to promotion play-off chasing Coleshill Town is not the ideal challenge to face after a 6-1 hammering at Corby Town, but it was one we had to rise to on a bright if slightly nippy Saturday afternoon in the West Midlands.  The Pack Meadow ground is a rather ram-shackle

affair and the shipping containers converted into dressing rooms will live long in the memory, but there is no faulting their 3G pitch, if you like that kind of thing.

Lance had to select a team without Max York as our returning defender was unavailable for the trip, but the squad was boosted by the return of the ever-improving Junior Muyembe who missed the game at Corby at the request of his parent club Biggleswade Town.  Junior came into the starting line-up at the expense of Bubba Camara while Lee Smith was to replace Max York in the heart of the Stutes defence.

Marcus Cole, retaining his place in the starting line-up following his full debut the previous week, had the first clear goalscoring chance of the game midway through the first half.  Ed Rolph was winning many of his aerial duels with the Coleshill centre-backs and when he flicked on a long Sam Roach clearance the ball fell perfectly for our pint-sized forward in front of goal. However, his low shot from 10 yards lacked the power to beat the keeper.

At the other end, wide man George Washbourne was causing problems down the right and it was from one of his crosses that the home side opened the scoring just before the half hour mark. Washbourne was given the time and space to put over a low cross which fell to Town’s top scorer Kai Tonge to record his 20th goal of the season.  The goal was a little harsh on the Stutes who up until this point had matched the home side all over the pitch and had adapted well to the unfamiliar surface.  A chance to level the scores came when Rolph was felled 3 yards outside the penalty box. The resulting free kick was well within the range of Finley Wilkinson but his effort hit the top of the defensive wall and rebounded to safety.

Roach was called upon to make a couple of blocks as the hosts pressed for a second and it was another cross from Washbourne that was to result in a penalty to Coleshill. Lee Smith was adjudged to have handled the winger’s ball into the box and Tonge made no mistake from the spot, calmly beating Roach to his left to now make it 21 for the season.  Histon had their own penalty appeal for hand ball as half time approached but went in with an underserved two-goal deficit.

The second half started along the same lines with Histon struggling to contain the home attack while offering only the occasional glimpse of their own attacking threat.  Coleshill looked to be in command but Histon were not allowing their heads to drop and were competing well. There was some concern when Ollie Brookes took a nasty looking knock but he was able to continue for the rest of the game with a heavily bandaged head.

With over thirty minutes remaining, the introduction of Tobi Lawal from the substitutes bench gave the Stutes another dimension in attack and he was clearly a worry to the home defence.  The away side were now building up a head of stream and pushing men forward at every opportunity. Coleshill fans had their hearts in their mouths as neat work down the left was only partially cleared as far as Junior Muyembe who’s shot was tipped onto the bar by the home keeper. Moments later another cross from the left caused havoc in the home defence as Rhys Thorpe almost got onto a loose ball but could only force a corner.  Ed Rolph then found himself on the end of a right wing cross but his header was too close to the keeper who saved comfortably.

After a series of free kicks and corners, the goal that Histon had threatened to score finally came with three minutes of the 90 remaining.  Ed Rolph again got the better of the central defenders and helped the ball on to Rhys Thorpe, who’s early cross left Pat Bexfield with a simple header into an almost empty net.

The hosts were now on the ropes as the game went into added time and, as Histon swarmed forward, their tackling was becoming increasingly robust. But they failed to cut out a long pass towards Rhys Thorpe who managed to lob the bouncing ball over the keeper’s head and towards an empty net, only for a covering defender to race back and acrobatically clear off the line.

It was to be the last meaningful action of a game in which the Stutes were left to regret conceding two first half goals and giving themselves a mountain to climb in the second half. The summit of that mountain was almost within touching distance at full time, but the players will take plenty of positives away from the game, if not the point that they came so close to securing.

Histon: Sam Roach, Charlie Lewis, Pat Bexfield (Evan Key 90), Ryan Towner, Lee Smith (Bubba Camara 83), Ollie Brookes, Ed Rolph, Junior Muyembe, Rhys Thorpe, Finley Wilkinson, Marcus Cole (Tobi Lawal 56).

Histon unused subs: Luke Lindsay, Manu Ramirez.

Histon yellow cards: Pat Bexfield, Ryann Towner.

Histon goal scorer: Pat Bexfield 87.

Attendance: 87.