Stutes Secure First Win of 2022/23

Two second half goals by Ollie Brookes and Dan Brown kick-started our United Counties League
campaign at Rothwell on Tuesday night and gave team confidence a huge boost ahead of our FA Cup
encounter at Desborough Town this coming Saturday.

The goals were late to arrive in a keenly contested match in which neither side was willing to give an
inch following defeats in their opening day fixtures. It was clear even before the game commenced that
this was not going to be a game for the football purists given the hard and uneven conditions under
foot. The pitch had obviously suffered in the near-tropical weather conditions over the summer and
was looking far from match fit. This, and the strong wind blowing from one end of the ground to the
other, will have no doubt featured in the team-talks given by the respective managers prior to kick-off.
Histon fielded the same starting XI as the previous Saturday, but with the added bonus of having Andy
Ballester and Luke Lindsay available from the bench. The now familiar three central defenders lined up
at the back with Marcus Cole and Dan Brown leading the attack after showing signs of forming a
dangerous partnership the previous weekend.

Histon had the wind at their backs in the first half as the game quickly settled into the expected pattern.
Rothwell were clearly intent on testing the Stutes ability to defend long high ball and for much of the
first 15 minutes they succeeded in pinning their visitors in their own half. Histon, in their new all blue
strip with white trimmings, were limited to the occasional break down the right flank by Marcus Cole
but his low crosses failed to meet their intended target.
The first clear chance of the match fell to the hosts as a cross from the right was met with a powerful
downward header on goal, forcing Sam Roach to pull off an outstanding diving save to his left. The
follow-up effort also had to be blocked on the goal-line before the danger was finally cleared.
But as the half progressed, Histon appeared to be getting the better of the aerial duels and were using
the wind to their advantage. Both Brown and Cole threatened to spring the off-side trap as the Stutes
probed a shaky looking home defence for weaknesses, but despite gaining more possession of the ball
and an abundance of corners, the home ‘keeper was rarely tested. The goalless first half may have
caused many in the crowd of 48 to question whether their £6 admission fee could have been better
spent elsewhere, but the prospect of seeing what the home side could do in the second half with the
wind behind them gave hope for a lively conclusion to the game.

Despite the wind assistance now being with the hosts, the second half continued where the first had left
off with the visitors slowly but surely gaining the upper hand. The introduction at half time of Evan Key
in defence and Luke Lindsay in attack had the effect of stifling the opposition and deprived them of any
meaningful attacking threat. Ryan Towner was also having an increased influence on proceedings from
the midfield and his searching runs were putting the home defence under increasing scrutiny.
With the game approached the final stages the Stutes turned up the heat another notch and the reward
finally came in the 74 th minute following a Pat Bexfield corner on the right. Rothwell half cleared the
initial danger but the ball was swung back into the box by Luke Lindsay, and Ollie Brookes escaped his
marker to head into the net.

The wait for the second goal lasted just three minutes, and again it was Luke Lindsay who was the
provider. From wide on the right, his precision pass into the path of Dan Brown was dispatched with
power and accuracy from the edge of the penalty area. The visitor’s two-goal lead was a fair reflection
on the play, but the game was not over yet and it was to have a sting its tail!
The Corinthians had staged a fighting comeback in their previous match, recovering from 3-0 down at
half time, only to ultimately do down 3-2 while pressing strongly for an equaliser. A repeat performance
looked unlikely until a bouncing ball in the Histon penalty area was misjudged and Zacorie Allen was on
hand to roll the ball into an empty net. Six minutes remained on the watch, made needlessly tense due
to some sloppy defending, but Rothwell could muster only one more effort on goal which Roach easily
smothered. The final whistle came with the home side throwing players forward, but it was the Stutes
who bagged the point.

Notable performers on the night were Luke Lindsay with his two assists, Ryan Towner who didn’t let the
conditions get the better of him, and Charlie Tunnell on the left side of defence who rarely put a foot
wrong. The win will undoubtedly lift the spirits of everyone at the club and give the management some
selection headaches for the weekend when FA Cup glory is up for grabs. Could this be our year?