Rugby Town 6 HISTON 3
Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South
Saturday 15th October 2022
Where do you begin to summarise a game as crazy as this one? Nine goals, seven of them in the second half, two hattricks, controversial decisions and a home side conceding as many goals in one game as they had done in their previous nine. At times, it was a manager’s worst nightmare.
Table-topping Rugby Town opened the scoring with just 7 minutes gone, although there was an element of good fortune about the scuffed shot that struck both posts before creeping over the goal line. The goal was cruel on the Stutes and, given the home side’s proud record of conceding only one league goal at Butlin Road this season, some may have thought that was game over as a contest.
They were proven wrong 8 minutes later by a goal that owed much to the determination and battling qualities of Marcus Cole. Included in the starting line-up in the absence of Rhys Thorpe, the diminutive wide man chased down a high ball that the towering centre-back was odds on to deal with, forcing the defender into making an error and poking the ball across to the supporting Dan Brown and taking a heavy knock in the process. With the keeper deserting his goal in anticipation of a back pass, Brown had the simple task of tapping into the empty net. The home side didn’t like it, but at half time it was all square and game on.
The Stutes had matched their opponents in almost every area of the pitch in a first half that was played in blinding sunshine, but ten minutes into the second period the Stutes found themselves 3-1 down, both goals coming from raids down Histon’s right flank and neatly converted after pin-point crosses.
But if the home side thought they could now switch on the cruise control they were soon to be proven wrong again. With heavy rain now sending many of the 356 in the crowd scampering for shelter, Histon put together a passing move down the middle of the pitch that set up Marcus Cole on the edge of the penalty area. His effort was blocked but with the home keeper again going missing, Luke Lindsay collected the loose ball and threaded it past the covering defenders and into the net.
With 30 minutes remaining on the clock, and both sides having shown enough defensive frailties to suggest that more goals were likely, the game could still go either way. Histon were piling on the pressure and looked the more likely to score the next goal. A spell for four consecutive corners and a mighty Max York long throw-in had Rugby Town pinned inside their own penalty box but, like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow now illuminating the Warwickshire sky, the equalising goal could not be found.
Lance introduced Harry Meats into the action with 17 minutes to play in an attempt to prise open the home defence, but the decisive sixth goal of the game came at the other end of the pitch under controversial circumstances. Max York appeared to be well in control of the ball on the edge of his own penalty area when the league top scorer Jordan Wilson made a strong challenged for the ball, forcing York to the ground in the process. When the anticipated whistle from the Referee failed to materialise, Wilson rolled the ball past Sam Roach to score the goal that would ultimately knock the stuffing out of the plucky Histon side.
Strong sunshine was now casting long late-afternoon shadows but there was time for both Wilson and the impressive Thomas Fielding to complete their hattricks as Rugby opened up the Histon defence at will, despite latest signing Sol Goodby replacing Sam Collison at the back. But again, the Stutes showed a never-say-die attitude by slicing open the Rugby defence late on and presenting substitute Andy Henderson with a simple tap-in from three yards out.
There is no doubt that his game was good value for the £8 admission fee and the home fans went home happy that their team had extended their lead at the top of the table, even if the Stutes had severely dented their defensive record. One home fan said that this was the first game this season in which his side had conceded from open play. Although that cannot be verified, we can definitely say that Histon managed that feat three times, even if Rugby Town’s outstanding strike force proved to be too much for our back line to handle.
Histon: Sam Roach, Sam Collison (Sol Goodby 82), Charlie Tunnell, Luke Crisp, Max York, Ollie Brookes, Dan Brown, Ryan Towner, Luke Lindsay, Bubba Camara (Harry Meats 73), Marcus Cole (Andrew Henderson 86).
Histon sub not used: Chris Gough.
Histon yellow card: Marcus Cole.
Histon goal scorers: Dan Brown 15, Luke Lindsay 57, Andrew Henderson 90.