Goal-Drought at Waterworks Field
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round – Saturday 6th August 2022
Desborough Town and Histon fought out a goalless draw in their FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie on Saturday afternoon, meaning the two sides go again at Bridge Road on Tuesday evening to decide which of them will visit Mildenhall Town in the next round on Saturday 20th August.
The fixture at Desborough’s SG Pathway Academy Stadium was a repeat of the FA Cup tie played at the same venue three years ago when Lee Smith and Dan Brown (2) provided the goals in a 3-1 victory for the Stutes. But on this occasion, there was to be no repeat performance from the visitors as both sides fought each other to a stalemate. Chances were few and far between, partly due to both sides struggling to master a playing surface which had been baked to a crisp by the relentless heat of the
previous weeks. The resulting unpredictable bounce was more suited to fast bowlers than playing football, with the result that both defences came out on top over the 90 minutes.
Evan Key and Luke Lindsay both earner a place in the starting eleven after coming off the bench for the second half at Rothwell and affecting the game in the desired manor. Marcus Cole was in the dugout after starting the two previous matches but there was no Bubba Camara, Mar-Lee Fisher or Bahador Chizari in the squad for this game. Kieran McGinty, Chris Gough and Andy Ballester made up the subs bench.
Desborough came into the game without Iain Blaikie who scored a hattrick in his previous appearance and was on four goals in two games for the season to date.
Compared with Histon’s match just a few miles down the road the previous Tuesday, this encounter wasa far more entertaining affair. Both sides showed early on that they were prepared to play with attacking intent, even if they were struggling to find the final pass. The home side were finding Ollie Brookes and Evan Key to be immoveable objects in the heart of the Histon defence and when they did find a way through, Pat Bexfield was sweeping up behind. At the other end, the Stutes were lacking a little in the accuracy of their passing, but with Dan Brown and the ever-improving Luke Lindsay chasing everything that came their way, the home defenders had to be on their toes.
Charlie Tunnell was again putting in a shift on the left side and was unfortunate to pick up the first yellow card of the game when he was adjudged to have tripped a player who came up on his blind side. Ollie Brookes and Luke Lindsay were to follow him into the Referee’s book in the second half, the later for kicking an opponent’s head when he stooped low in an effort to steel the ball from our striker. With both sides struggling to find a breakthrough, Lindsay was replaced by Marcus Cole, and Kieran McGinty came on for Evan Key to make his First Team debut with 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
Both defences were tightening their control as the game progressed and a replay looking increasingly likely. The play was becoming scrappy as players on both sides began to wilt in the stifling heat. But, when it was least expected, a rare moment of quality lifted the crowd and provided the highlight of the game.
Rhys Thorpe won a free kick in a central position and five yards outside the Desborough penalty area. With the defensive wall lined up, the home keeper took his place on the right side of the goal. Up stepped Thorpe, who had been uncharacteristically quiet until this moment. His right footed shot by-passed the wall and was arrowing straight towards the bottom right corner until a flying keeper, at full stretch, reached out a left glove to push the ball around the post.
From the resulting corner, Ollie Brookes got a clear header on goal that had to be hacked off the goal- line, but it was to be Histon’s last meaningful attack. At the other end, the hosts found their second wind, but some wild shooting didn’t unduly trouble Sam Roach in the away goal. Eventually, time ran out and the two sides had to settle for a draw in a game which neither side deserved to lose.
Histon: Sam Roach, Sam Collison, Pat Bexfield, Ryan Towner, Ollie Brookes, Evan Key (Kieran McGinty 77), Luke Lindsay (Marcus Cole 72), Luke Crisp, Dan Brown (Andy Ballester 61), Rhys Thorpe, Charlie Tunnell.
Histon subs not used: Chris Gough.
Histon yellow cards: Charlie Tunnell, Ollie Brookes, Luke Lindsay.