MK Irish 3 HISTON 2
Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday 29th October 2022
Rough Justice for Brave Stutes
A performance full of spirited attacking endeavor by the Stutes came to nothing at the MK Irish Centre as the hosts took full advantage of Histon’s defensive frailties, aided by some clinical finishing and an element of good fortune with refereeing decisions.
Histon’s rear-guard was split wide open by the Irish on three occasions in the first half, leaving the Stutes chasing the game for much of the afternoon, but it was a challenge the Stutes rose to and justifiably came away feeling they deserved more from the game than just the admiration of a crowd that retired to the bar after the game having been well entertained by both sides.
Injuries to Dan Brown and Harry Meats, plus the absence of the suspended Pat Bexfield, exacerbated the shortage of personnel in the Histon squad, meaning a starting place for Mar-Lee Fisher in attack and seats on the subs bench for Roman Barton and Dexter Todd from the Under 18s squad. All three were to combine later in the day to show the quality that is emerging through the ranks at Bridge Road.
Histon survived an early Halloween scare when a rare mistake by Ryan Towner was pounced upon by MK Irish, leaving Sam Roach exposed to a one-on-one situation in which our number one prevailed. Moments later it was the Irish who were lucky not to fall behind as a Max York throw-in caused mayhem in their defence and Luke Lindsay’s acrobatic volley smacked against the crossbar and rebounded beyond the 18-yard box to safety.
Histon were doing most of the early pressing and had a good shout for a penalty when Charlie Tunnell’s attempted cross was blocked by a defender’s dangling hand. Sadly, the Referee’s view of the offence was obscured and the Irish were able to immediately sweep up-field on the counter-attack. Ollie Brookes was all that stood between the home side’s tricky striker and a clear shot on goal and the captain’s outstretched leg was to provide enough of an obstacle for the player to go down. This time the Referee had a clear enough view to award the penalty, which was duly converted to give the hosts a 15th minute lead.
The game had barely restarted before Histon were in trouble at the back again. A raid down the right flank had many appealing for an off-side decision but it was not forthcoming. The ball was played into the middle where there was time and space for an Irish forward to pick his spot and double his side’s advantage. It was difficult to believe from the balance of play, but the Irish were two goals up.
The Stutes may have been shell-shocked at this early stage in the match but had shown enough attacking intent to suggest that the game was far from beyond them. Luke Lindsay had a one-on-one chance but his shot was well smothered by the home keeper then Mar-Lee Fisher displayed some neat footwork on the edge of the penalty box but his left-foot shot lacked power. But the lifeline came in the 27th minute when another Max York throw evaded a static Irish defence and reached Ollie Brookes, who leaped unchallenged to glance the ball into the net. It was game on again and with Histon still looking the brighter going forward the game was very much in the balance.
The hosts were struggling to deal with high balls played into their area and Charlie Tunnell was tormenting the right back whenever he ventured forward. One Tunnell cross was headed narrowly over by Fisher and Lindsay came close to converting another. But what the Irish lacked at the back they more than made up for on the break. Following a period of Histon pressure, a long pass out from the back was played further forward and within a flash it was 3-1. Once again, the visiting defence had been split wide open with just a few well-measured passes.
The half finished on a near-farcical note as the Stutes attempted to reduce the home advantage. With just seconds remaining on the clock, Ollie Brookes thwarted an MK Irish attack and played a pin-point pass forward which brushed the Referee’s sock on its way past. With the Irish short of numbers at the back, the door was open for the Stutes to mount a dangerous counter-attack of their own, only for the game to be halted due to the ball having made contact with the match official. Brookes’ protests not only earn him a yellow card but he was to start the second half serving time in the sin-bin.
Histon were again the dominant force at the start of the second period. Bubba Camara and Ryan Towner were behind much of Histon’s best work as they probed the home side’s defence, reducing their attacking threat to just the occasional break. The lead was deservedly reduced on 63 minutes when Mar-Lee Fisher fed the ball to Lindsay in a central position and on this occasion he made no mistake with a powerful shot into the net from just inside the penalty box.
Roman Barton replaced Sam Collison on the right as Histon switched to three at the back. The youngster showed some neat touches and came close with a low shot across the keeper which flew just wide of the far post. Dexter Todd was also brought into the action as the Stutes ventured forward in pursuit of a deserved equaliser. For a brief moment it looked like the third goal had arrived when Charlie Tunnell got on the end of an excellent move, collecting Todd’s pass and slotting the ball inside the far post, only for an Assistant Referee to raise a flag for off-side.
With time running out, Max York was thrown into attack in search of one more opportunity to level the scores as the home side looked to hang on to what they had. A half chance was to come deep into added time when the ball fell to late goal specialist Ollie Brookes in a packed goalmouth, but on this occasion his first time volley went wide of the post.
Histon can consider themselves unfortunate to have come away from the game with nothing to show for it; a sentiment which was shared by the 20 or so travelling Stutes fans who applauded their side off the park after the final whistle. The result moved MK Irish up to fifth place in the league table but the victory was one which they had to battle hard to secure, despite the generosity extended to them by the Histon back line during the first half.
Histon: Sam Roach, Sam Collison (Roman Barton 57), Charlie Tunnell, Luke Crisp, Max York, Ollie Brookes, Luke Lindsay, Ryan Towner, Mar-Lee Fisher, Bubba Camara, Marcus Cole (Dexter Todd 70).
Histon sub not used: Andrew Henderson.
Histon yellow cards: Charlie Tunnell, Ollie Brookes (SinBin), Luke Lindsay, Bubba Camara.
Histon goal scorers: Ollie Brookes 27, Luke Lindsay 62.