Pitching In Northern Premier League Midlands Division
Saturday 27th November 2021


A bitterly cold and blustery day in Leicestershire ended in joy for the Stutes as we recorded only our second victory of the season.  This was a game that will live long in the memory for so many reasons, not only for the triumphant Stutes but also for the home side who were made to pay for under-estimating the resilience and never-say-die attitude of their visitors.

Even before a ball had been kicked there were indications that this match was not going to pass by quietly.  Storm Arwen had claimed several matches in the local area but had left the playing surface at the Newton Fallowell Stadium in fine condition despite the overnight covering of snow.  But there was no hiding place within the Dynamo’s home ground in which to escape the biting storm-force wind that was to have a large say in how the game was to pan out.

The Stutes started without several of our more influential defensive players, most notably Ollie Brookes who underwent a long overdue medical procedure earlier in the week. With the wind behind them in the first half, it was essential that the visitors started the game on the front foot and they did exactly that, taking the game to their hosts right from the start.  Tobi Lawal found space in which to fire a shot on goal which was charged down and his wind-assisted follow-up clipped the top of the bar with the ‘keeper rooted to his goal-line.

But Loughborough had an ace in their pack in the form of Kevin Da Silva Bastos whose pace and trickery on the ball has made him one of the stand-out players in the Midlands Division this season.  Battling against the wind, the Dynamos found that they could cause havoc in the Histon defence by running at defenders with the ball and drilling in low crosses. Their game plan proved fruitful as early as the 7th minute when some powderpuff defending and slack marking resulted in the hosts taking the lead. When Bastos himself slid in to add a second after just 14 minutes the game had all the hallmarks of being yet another fruitless awayday for the Stutes. The defensive steel and rigidity shown in recent games seemed a distant memory as the Dynamos cut through the Histon defence with worrying ease.

The shell-shocked Stutes had given themselves a mountain to climb if they were to salvage anything from the game, but they slowly established a more secure foothold as the half progressed and were to put themselves within sight of that mountain top on the half hour mark.  The ever-improving Luke Lindsay was becoming a growing threat to the Dynamo defence and his 29th minute run down the flank ended with a low cross to which Ed Rolph applied the simplest of finishes.  There was no time for celebrations as the Stutes rushed back into their own half, eager to get the game restarted and make the most of what time remained of the half with the wind on their side.

It was our main striker’s first league goal since 24th August but he only had to wait another 60 seconds to add another and bring the game back to parity.  This time it was more good work down the left that gave Captain Ed the chance to fire a low shot across the ‘keeper and into the far corner.  The shock and frustration at surrendering a two-goal lead was clearly visible on the faces of the Loughborough coaching staff, but as the players returned to the dressing rooms at the half time break, thoughts were turning to how the Histon side would cope playing into the gale-force wind in the second period.

Perhaps the half time cuppa-soup was playing tricks on the mind but as the players emerged for second period the wind seemed to have lost some of its ferocity.  It certainly looked that way as Sam Roach was at least able to get his goal kicks as far as the half way line, a feat not achieved by his opposite number throughout the first half.  The expected onslaught coming down wind from the men in gold and black was also slow to materialise as they too struggled to come to grips with the conditions.  But fortune was not going all our way as both Tobi Lawal and Pat Bexfield had been forced off by injury, being replaced by Marcus Cole and Bahador Chizari from a depleted Histon bench.  Despite the enforced changes, Histon we’re giving their opponents no time to settle on the ball and were more than holding their own in what had become a finely balanced encounter.

The moment of quality the game was craving arrived on the hour mark and came from our own Finley Wilkinson, who only turned 19 years of age earlier this month.  The Stutes won possession just inside the Loughborough half and found the Histon youth product in a pocket of space some forty yards from goal.  As Wilko evaded a couple of challenges the home defence opened up before him and a superbly executed one-two with Ed Rolph left him with just the goalkeeper to beat.  He did so with coolness and efficiency, rounding off a goal befitting of a far higher level of football and turning the game completely on its head.  From 2-0 down, the Stutes were now 2-3 up and looking strong.

Loughborough needed a reaction and it was that man Kevin Da Silva Bastos who was to now enter centre stage.  Bahador Chizari had largely kept him quite since coming on to replace Pat Bexfield but when the towering winger went down in the penalty area under the challenge of our pint-sized Iranian things looked ominous.  However, the Referee ignored the claims of the home side and waved a yellow card towards Bastos for diving, much to the disappointment of the home favourite who made his feelings on the matter clearly known.

The same player perhaps thought justice was done when a few minutes later he fired in an equaliser following a corner which the Histon defence failed to clear properly.  But if he thought he would go on to complete his hat-trick and become the game-winner he was to be greatly disappointed.  Still irate after his earlier yellow card, the winger made the schoolboy error of re-entering the field of play without the prior permission of the referee, an offence which carries the penalty of a yellow card, in Mr Bastos’ case his second of the afternoon.  The home dugout exploded in fury but, with the Referee’s assessor looking on, the laws of the game had to be followed.

The Dynamo were now sitting on the horns of a dilemma. With the momentum and the now strengthening wind on their side, do they press on with their ten men to find the winning goal against their bottom of the table opposition or do they shut up shop and settle for the draw? With some strong challenges flying in from both sides, it seemed the all-or-nothing option was on everyone’s mind as both sides pressed forward for a winner. A free kick awarded on the edge of the Histon penalty area presented the home side with a fine opportunity of clinching the game but the resulting shot flew just over its intended target. In return, Ed Rolph had a chance from 15 yards out that he would usually put away but, on this occasion, he sent his shot narrowly wide.

But this game was never likely to end quietly. The Loughborough players were becoming increasingly frustrated with some of the refereeing decisions going against them. In contrast, Histon were going quietly about their work, looking to make the most of their numerical advantage. Again, it was a Stutes attack down the left flank that was to provide the final and decisive piece of action. Ed Rolph and Luke Lindsay combined once more to give the latter a clear site of goal. The wide forward had work to do, but he found the finish that was to cap off this epic encounter and give the Stutes all three points.

The result left the newly appointed Loughborough manager to work out what went wrong after their 3-0 win at Corby Town the previous week had suggested they were back to their best. For Histon, the victory lifts us off the bottom of the table and shows that the progress made over the past month will bring rewards. Next up is Sporting Khalsa at Bridge Road and an opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time since December 2019.

Histon: Sam Roach, Ediz Greengrass, Pat Bexfield (Bahador Chizari34), Ryan Towner, Victor Garcia, Sam Collison, Ed Rolph, Tobi Lawal (Marcus Cole (57), Rhys Thorpe, Finley Wilkinson, Luke Lindsay.

Histon subs not used: Chris Gough, Evan Key.

Histon yellow cards: Tobi Lawal, Rhys Thorpe, Ediz Greengrass, Ed Rolph.

Histon goal scorers: Ed Rolph (29 & 30), Finley Wilkinson (59), Luke Lindsay (87).

Attendance: 149.