Lutterworth Town 0 HISTON 3
Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday 11th February 2023


Histon came away from Lutterworth with a deserved victory after second-half goals from Jay Rolfe, Ryan Towner and Max York saw off a dogged home side. It was Histon’s second successive 3-0 victory but one which did not come easy on a difficult surface and against an abrasive home side fighting to avoid being sucked into the relegation zone. 

The trip to Leicestershire was Histon’s first match on the road for eleven weeks after the previous five away fixtures had all been postponed due to adverse conditions. Not surprisingly, Lance selected the same starting eleven that dismantled Bugbrooke St Michaels the previous week, but boosted by the inclusion of Dan Brown on the bench after a three-month absence.   

It was clear right from the opening exchanges that this was not going to be a pretty match to watch as the bobbly surface made it difficult for players on both sides to control the ball. The high ball over the top soon became the favoured option in a scrappy first fifteen minutes, but it was Histon who were getting the upper hand. Connor Barnes and then Ryan Towner had shots on goal but without hitting the target.   

Just fifteen minutes into the game it reached its first flash-point following an innocuous-looking challenge by Charlie Tunnell in front of the dugouts. The Lutterworth player reacted badly, leading to a bout of pushing and posturing by several players from both sides. The fracas was settled in customary fashion by the Referee showing a yellow card to the two players initially involved and getting the game restarted, but the incident seemed to unsettle the home side. Histon threatened with a series of crosses into the Lutterworth goalmouth but all were comfortably dealt with by the home goalkeeper, who is a giant of a man and very apt at dominating his area of the pitch. Luke Crisp then had a headed chance and Charlie Tunnell had another tipped over the bar, but the nearest Histon came to scoring was a rasping shot from Ryan Towner that rippled the side-netting with the keeper well beaten. 

At the other end, Lutterworth offered very little as Ollie Brookes and Max York dominated the central area, but Jay Rolfe had to come to the rescue with a last-ditch tackle after a rare moment of danger.      

Shortly before the break, Connor Barnes threatened to collect a loose ball in front of goal before it was hacked away for a corner, prompting a heated argument between the Lutterworth goalkeeper and the defender concerned. Despite the encouragement coming from some sections of the crowd, they declined to take their disagreement further. 

Lutterworth enjoyed their best period of the game straight after the restart when Sam Roach made his first proper save of the game. Shortly afterward, he was called upon again and made a fine block with his foot to deny a header at goal that looked certain to find the net. It was a let-off for Histon, but the second half soon settled into the same pattern as the first as Sam Collison came close to connecting with a far post cross with the goal at his mercy.     

With an hour of the game gone, Histon made a change by bringing Luke Lindsay on to partner Barnes up front. Two minutes later, Jay Rolfe got on the end of another cross from the left to bundle the ball into the net. It was a goal that had been coming for some time as Histon had been on the front foot for most of the game. 

But if anyone thought it was game over, they were soon required to think again. Lutterworth Town were not going to surrender easily and brought players off the bench in the hope of changing the tide. A raid down the left flank led to the ball being played into the Histon penalty area and a player going down under a fairly soft challenge. However, the Referee was right up with play and pointed to the spot. The home side now had the lifeline they had been hoping for. 

As far as spot-kicks go, it was one which was difficult to comprehend. It had no power and lacked direction, allowing Roachie to fall on it before gathering it to his chest. Lutterworth had passed up their best chance of drawing level and there was no way back. 

Histon were right back on the attack and Collison went on a run down the right before feeding Barnes but his shot was blocked by the ‘keeper’s outstretched foot. With a little over ten minutes remaining on the clock, Dan Brown made a welcome return to the side and, once again, the substitution would be quickly followed by a Histon goal. The provider was Charlie Tunnell, who looked to be enjoying the freedom he was getting down the left side. His flat, teasing cross was met at the far post by Ryan Towner to score his third goal in two games and record the rarity of a headed goal. 

Lutterworth now looked like a beaten side, more intent on winning the simmering arguments that had been ongoing all afternoon rather than the match. The Lutterworth Physio earned himself a yellow card for dissent and some home players turned their attention towards the visitors in the crowd rather than those on the pitch. The outcome was a third Histon goal, this time coming from a corner played towards Ollie Brookes standing unmarked some fifteen yards from goal. The skipper’s header into the goalmouth found Max York, who was able to take the ball down on his chest before guiding it inside the post without a challenge being made. 

The result means that Histon now have consecutive away victories to their name, even if the previous one came on 26th November of last year. Next up are the 2022 FA Vase winners and 2023 quarter-finalists, Newport Pagnell Town.  Can the Stutes make it three on the bounce? 

Histon: Sam Roach, Pat Bexfield (Sam Collison 46), Jay Rolfe (Dan Brown 78), Luke Crisp, Max York, Ollie Brookes, Marcus Cole (LukeLindsay 62), Ryan Towner, Connor Barnes (Bubba Camara 86), Harry Meats, Charlie Tunnell.

Histon subs not used: None.

Histon yellow cards: Charlie Tunnell, Pat Bexfield.

Histon goal scorers: Jay Rolfe 63, Ryan Towner 80, Max York 90.

Attendance: 60.