Coventry United 1 HISTON 2
Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday 26th November 2022


Keepers take centre stage as Ben Hurrion Scores Stutes’ winner 

Three points on the road and a goal on his first team debut for Ben Hurrion, but this game can be summarized as being a tale of two keepers. For Sam Roach, it is was a game he can remember with pride and can take confidence from a string of saves which kept his side in front and frustrated the opposition. For James Behan between the sticks at the other end it will be a game which will provoke mixed emotions. From being the pantomime villain in the first half to saving two penalties in the second, it once again raises the question of why anyone would want to be a goalkeeper.   

The Stutes took to the 3G surface at the impressive Butts Park Arena with a makeshift defence. Ollie Brookes had failed to recover from the groin injury he incurred the previous weekend against Rugby Town and Charlie Tunnell was suffering with illness. Luke Crisp slotted into the middle of defence, leaving room for Ben Hurrion to became the latest product of the Under 18’s side to make an appearance in the starting line-up.   

The Red and Greens came into the game on the back of a five-game winning streak after a 5-1 victory over Desborough Town just three days previously. The home supporters could therefore justifiably expect their side to enhance their challenge for a play-off spot in this game even if their visitors had a good enough away record to cause a few doubts to persist.   

After a spirited opening few minutes those reservations were to be fully justified when Histon took the lead with just eight minutes on the clock. The goal came after a smart flick by captain for the day Ryan Towner found Marcus Cole, who in turn fed Connor Barnes on the edge of the United penalty area. The striker then managed to elude the attentions of his marker before lifting the ball over the advancing keeper and stroking it into the unguarded net. The home side will have been disappointed with their clumsy efforts to prevent the goal as they had plenty of chances to intervene, but the script was now written for a highly entertaining afternoon of full-on, attack-minded football in which both sides looked to score goals at every opportunity. 

United were to draw themselves level on 22 minutes when a period of sustained attacking culminated in a ball being cut back into the centre of the Histon goalmouth leaving United’s Jared Bradshaw with the time and space to pick his spot leaving Sam Roach next to no chance of preventing the equaliser.  Meanwhile, Luke Lindsay was laying prostrate near the corner flag after chasing back to help defend a raid down the right moments earlier. It was to be his last involvement in the game and he limped away with what is thought to be a pulled hamstring. If confirmed, it will see our top scorer side-lined until well into the New Year. 

With Roman Lott-Canning now operating in Lindsay’s role down the flank, the side was forced to further re-shuffle it’s defensive line-up when Luke Crisp was forced to retire from his centre-back role. David Ramjee, himself only just returning from a dislocated shoulder, was to slot in at right back allowing Sam Collison to take over the centre-back duties along-side Max York. 

The home side could smell blood and their familiarity with the artificial surface was evidenced by their slick passing and confident ball control but Histon were sticking to the task well and were also showing that they can play some neat football along the ground when the chance arises. Barnes had an effort saved and Towner looked set to capitalize on a rebound off the keeper, but his show fizzed wide. The back line was showing a willingness to throw their bodies in front of anything aimed at the Histon goal and Sam Roach had to be at his acrobatic best to tip over a shot which was arrowing into the top corner. It was to be one of many saves by the Histon stopper as the Stutes looked to re-establish some defensive organisation. Pat Bexfield had to head an effort off the line but United were struggling to get a clear sight of the goal.  

At the other end of the park the Stutes kept nibbling away and the pint-sized duo of Cole and Lott-Canning were creating their fair share of problems for the hosts.  Cole was again involved when, five minutes before the break, the ball was rolled to Ben Hurrion on the edge of the penalty area and his first instinct was to unleash a fearsome strike at goal. Despite the power in the shot, the goalkeeper was well positioned to deal with it in routine style but he somehow managed to let it bounce off his chest while simultaneously scooping it over his right shoulder. The ball was a yard over the goal-line before he was able to grab it at the second attempt by which time the latest of our Under 18s to score on their first team debut had been engulfed by his new team-mates. It was a goal that will forever be filed under the heading of “goalkeeper errors”, but it put the Stutes a goal ahead at half time and fully justified the faith that the Histon management team had in the young midfielder. 

The second half carried on in a similar fashion with both sides looking dangerous at times. Ryan Towner and Bubba Camara were working tirelessly to close down the opposition in the middle of the pitch while Lott-Canning, Cole and Hurrion did their fair share of harassing and closing down. Camara was fast becoming the focus of the local fans and of the Referee after some over-enthusiastic challenges, particularly as he had seen a yellow card as early as the fourth minute of the game but the next major decision for the match officials to make came after Marcus Cole galloped down the left in pursuit of the ball, only to be stopped in his tracks by the on-rushing goalkeeper. Thought of Wayne Hennessey for Wales a few days earlier came to mind but on this occasion it was only a yellow card, and a penalty for the Stutes. Up stepped Max York and with his record being what it is, the Tweets were being prepared even before he had placed the ball on the spot. But the keeper, who up until now had been less than impressive, dived low to his left to block York’s effort.   

Straight away the hosts were up the other end and Roach did well to come off his line and smother a shot on goal. Histon responded with an attack that ended with Connor Barnes spinning past his marker to create a good chance for himself which the keeper did well to save.   

In desperation, United used all their substitutes to freshen up their attack but they could find no way past Roach.   

With ten minutes of normal time remaining a wayward throw-in by a United defender landed at the feet of Connor Barnes with only the keeper to beat. It left the United centre-back with the choice of conceding a penalty or allowing the scorer of Histon’s first goal to shot unhindered. He chose the former, thereby earning his second yellow card and a walk to the dressing room.   

Ball in hand, Barnes marched towards the penalty spot but after a short confab with Max York it was to be York’s chance to restore his reputation from the spot.  This time it was a better strike, low to the keeper’s right, but almost unbelievably he again managed to push it away. Memories of the keeper’s first half performance were now fading fast.   

With time running short, the ten men in red and green raised the intensity and earned a number of corner kicks, wasting most of them through poor delivery. For their part, Histon showed that they had learned from Rugby Town the previous week the dark art of closing a game down. Much of the six minutes of added time was spent in the corner flag area or retrieving the ball for a throw-in.   

But with time almost up United carved out one last headed chance only for Roach to pull off a game-winning reflex save to frustrate the home club and bring to an end their winning run. On the final whistle it was Sam Roach who was the first to be congratulated by those of his team-mates who had the energy left to walk over to him, but for Ben Hurrion it was a dream debut, scoring the winning goal on a league debut while still a teenager. Life doesn’t come much better.  

By Reg 


Histon: Sam Roach, Sam Collison, Pat Bexfield, Ryan Towner, Max York, Luke Crisp (David Ramjee 25), Marcus Cole, Bubba Camara, Connor Barnes, Ben Hurrion, Luke Lindsay (Romann Lott-Canning  24).

Histon subs not used: Lee Smith, Chris Gough.

Histon yellow cards: Bubba Camara, Pat Bexfield, Max York, Marcus Cole.

Histon goal scorers: Connor Barnes 8, Ben Hurrion 39.

Attendance: 128.