GNG Cogenhoe United 0 HISTON 3
Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South
Tuesday 7th March 2023


The Stutes claimed all three points in an eventful and at times controversial game at Cogenhoe United, extending their run without defeat to eight games. The win came courtesy of goals by Max York, Dexter Todd and Bubba Camara plus yet another penalty save by Sam Roach. For Todd, it was a goal on his full debut for the club and confirmation that he has what it takes to step up from the Under 18s side when required.

On a bitterly cold night in rural Northamptonshire, two in-form sides locked horns in a game that was hard fought and at times a little chaotic. The home side were no doubt buoyed by their 8-2 win the previous weekend, as were Histon following a run of three wins without conceding a goal, but it was the visitors who made the early running. The first chance of the game fell to Connor Barnes after Harry Meats had put Dan Brown clear down the left flank. Brownie’s well-flighted cross picked out Barnes who’s looping header just cleared the cross-bar.

The succession of crosses from corners and long throws into the Cogenhoe box were causing the home side plenty of problems and it came as no surprise when the heavy pressure brought about the first goal of the game in the 18th minute. Cogenhoe half cleared a corner as far as Ryan Towner just outside the 18-yard box who returned the ball straight back into the goalmouth where Max York turned it past the keeper.

Cogenhoe wasted little time in their attempt to get back into the game. Their forward efforts had been largely blunted by the Histon back line but a swift break down the left caught the visitors short of numbers at the back. As the ball was played across the goal, an in-rushing forward was bundled over and the Referee pointed to the spot. There was little complaint from Histon, only shouts of encouragement to Sam Roach between the sticks who has this season become something of a penalty saving specialists.

The penalty was well struck, low and to the keeper’s right, but it was not enough to beat a diving Sam Roach who pushed the ball away, almost with contempt. The save added weight to the air of invincibility from 12 yards that is now associated with the Histon stopper whose clean sheet bonuses are becoming a significant drain on the club’s finances.
Despite the setback, the home side continued to push forward but were too often let down by wayward passes and timely tackles from a tigerish Histon midfield and defence. From one such midfield duel won by Bubba Camara, Harry Meats found the ever-mobile Connor Barnes who almost doubled the lead.

The Stutes finally established the 2-goal cushion they craved just before the half time break. A mis-directed pass out of defence found Barnes who laid the ball off perfectly to the on-rushing Dexter Todd. The teenager had timed his run brilliantly, leaving the Cogenhoe defence appealing in vain for an offside decision that was never on the cards. The speedy forward had a clear run on goal but a chasing defender right on his shoulder. Disregarding the pressure from behind, he took the ball on and without breaking his stride despatched a shot past the keeper and into the net, showing all the coolness and panache of an experienced pro. While being engulfed by his teammates, it may have crossed his mind that he had just given himself a moment that will live in his memory for a very long time.

Faced with the challenge of recovering the two-goal deficit in the second half, Cogenhoe made the task a whole lot more difficult for themselves in the 53rd minute. A sliding lunge was punished by the Referee with a red card, harshly so in the opinion of the home bench who didn’t hold back in making known their opinion on the decision. Such was the depth of their feeling that the red card made a second appearance before play could re-start, this time brandished in the direction of a Cogenhoe backroom staff member who threw the ball at the official as he walked away. (Lance Key later said that he felt the red card decision was a harsh one as there was not a lot of force in the challenge, but he had seen them given before).

The game was now effectively over as a contest. Histon looked to create further opportunities and Barnes again went close when he took a pass from Towner on his chest but fired wide. A neat one-two between Towner and Barnes again resulted in the latter attempting to beat the keeper at the near post.

The resulting corner led to a moment of quality that would rival Dexter Todd’s earlier goal. The man in the spotlight this time was Bubba Camara, who had scored his first goal for the Stutes just four days previously. The corner was cleared as far as the Frenchman who was back in the centre circle as protection against a counterattack. “Don’t lose it there” was the cry from the travelling Histon fans as Camara sidestepped the first on-rushing forward. When he weaved past the second, a gap appeared in front of him which he was only too willing to advance into. Now some 25 yards out, the opportunity arose to curl a shot beyond the keeper and high into the net. Two goals in two games for the previously goal-shy midfielder.

The three-goal advantage meant the management had enough breathing space to introduce the full complement of substitutions, including the youngsters Ben Hurrion and Finley Scott. The now very youthful Histon side saw out the closing stages before retiring to the warmth of the dressing rooms to savour a job well done. The same again against the same opposition in four days time will do very nicely.

By Reg.

Histon: Sam Roach, Sam Collison (Finley Scott 79), Charlie Tunnell, Ryan Towner, Max York, Ollie Brookes, Dan Brown (Ryan Henry 71), Harry Meats (Ben Hurrion 80), Connor Barnes, Bubba Camara (Luke Lindsay 84), Dexter Todd (Marcus Cole 71).

Histon subs not used: None.

Histon yellow cards: Connor Barnes.

Histon goal scorers: York 19, Todd 45, Camara 65.

Attendance: 57.