SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN 0 HISTON 2
Pitching In Northern Premier League Midlands Division
Saturday 16th April 2022
A gloriously sunny day in Sutton Coldfield was made better still by a perfect set of results from a Histon viewpoint meaning that the Stutes are now virtually assured of a place in the promotion/relegation play-off.
The day started with three clubs from Cambridgeshire knowing that a defeat would push them closer to the abyss with just two more matches to play. It ended with Soham Town Rangers being automatically relegated and Wisbech needing the most unlikely of miracles to avoid going down with them.
The Stutes headed for the West Midlands with a slender lead over the bottom two but in the knowledge that they needed to get something from one of their two matches over the Easter period to ease the nerves ahead of the final league game at Sporting Khalsa. They travelled without the suspended Charlie Lewis and with fellow defenders Evan Key, Max York and Lee Smith all unavailable. It meant a recall for Sam Collison in the centre of defence and a debut for 20-year-old Matt Price at left back.
It took a while for the visitors to find their feet on Sutton Coldfield’s artificial surface. The home side were finding space down the flanks but lacked quality with their crossing. They were also finding the Histon defence to be in a far more resilient mood than the previous week. Pat Bexfield was playing in an unfamiliar sweeper role but Sam Roach was relatively untroubled. The same could also be said of the home ‘keeper as many of the visiting fans spent the first half checking their phones for news of goals in the matches involving Soham and Wisbech. Hearts were in mouths midway through the half when Collison was forced to make a goal-line clearance but goalscoring chances were few and far between for both sides. Histon had a strong penalty appeal rejected by the officials but offered little else.
With the sun continuing to beat down, the mini brass band in the crowd of just over 514 provided a carnival atmosphere and there was further jubilation when Chasetown took the lead at Wisbech. But with Soham holding Shepshed to 0-0 at half time, a very tense second half was on the cards.
Thankfully, the mood totally changed just two minutes into the second half as Rhys Thorpe produced a moment of quality that brought the game to life. The striker judged the bounce of a long ball far better than the home defenders and span off his marker to give himself a one-on-one situation with the Sutton goalkeeper. In a flash, the ball was in the net with the ‘keeper beaten all ends up.
The goal gave Histon a visible boost and they started to take control of the game. A second goal followed ten minutes later when Matt Price won a corner kick on the left and a precision Finley Wilkinson cross was met by the forehead of Ed Rolph. The Stutes were now in the driving seat and the phones were coming out of the pocket a little less frequently.
The hosts threw players forward but, for all their huff and puff, they seldom threatened to score. Sam Roach pushed away a direct free kick and Ollie Brookes blocked another effort on the line but the Stutes were holding out.
News then spread that Shepshed had taken the lead against Soham and Wisbech were now four goals down. The perfect ending to a fine Spring day.
Histon: Sam Roach, Andy Ballester, Matthew Price (Alex Stevens-Lee 85), Pat Bexfield, Sam Collison (Tobi Lawal 80), Ollie Brookes, Ed Rolph (Marcus Cole 75), Ryan Towner, Rhys Thorpe, Finley Wilkinson, Junior Muyembe.
Histon sub not used: Chris Gough.
Histon yellow cards: Ryan Tower, Andy Ballester, Rhys Thorpe.
Histon goal scorers: Rhys Thorpe (47), Ed Rolph (59).