Wellingborough Town 3 HISTON 0
United Counties League Premier Division South
Tuesday 15th August 2023
Wellingborough got the better of a brave Histon side in an engaging game at the Dog and Duck, confirming their credentials as one of the favourites for promotion this season. A Sean McBride header in just the 3rd minute got the home side off to the perfect start with the lead being doubled on 20 minutes by Brett Solkhon. Jessi Obeng made the game safe for the hosts in the second half but only after the goalkeepers at both ends had excelled in a game that became a tail of two ‘keepers.
Histon went into the game with some notable absentees through injury and unavailability, including Max York, Dan Brown, Connor Barnes and Danny Gould, whose long-term knee injury is still a concern. The reshuffled side with Bexfield playing in the back line had barely settled into their formation when Wellingborough scored with a fine cross from the right finding the head of McBride, who’s firm header gave Sam Roach little chance of saving.
But Histon looked undeterred by the early set-back and played some fine football through the midfield of the park. Ryan Towner and recent acquisition Harvey Bullinaria were pulling the strings in midfield and both Sam Collison and Charlie Tunnell has success on their respective flanks, both sending over teasing crosses for the front two of Collison and Rolph. Claims for a penalty were raised when a corner to the far post appeared to be palmed away by a defender but the Referee felt otherwise.
The speed and mobility of the home forwards was causing problems for Histon and they were regularly finding the gaps in the visiting defence to attack. Wellingborough should have added to their lead when a free header from a corner sailed over the bar, but their second goal came midway through the half when a left wing cross squirmed through the defence, leaving Solkhon with a simple finish. From the restart, Wellingborough almost added a third when a speculative long-range chip almost caught Sam Roach out of position but bounced to safety off the post.
The best chance of the half for Histon came when a sweeping move through the midfield ended with a Collison cross being headed down by Lindsay, but Ed Rolph could only poke the ball wide. The returning striker was substituted soon after with a groin injury.
The second half very nearly started in the same manner as the first as Wellingborough were only denied a third goal by a double save by Sam Roach. But the Stutes kept pressing forward and finally got the better of the home defence when Marcus Cole was hauled down from behind after running onto a chip over the back line. The usually dependable Ryan Towner drilled the spot kick low to the keeper’s right but the big stopper got down well to block the shot and the rebound was scrambled away for a corner.
Play switched to the other end and Roach had to again be at his best to deny a home striker who looked certain to score. But despite the two-goal deficit, Histon looked far from down and out and continued to pressurise the home defence. The introduction of Dexter Todd gave Histon an extra attacking dimension as the home side became increasingly reliant on fast breaks rather than sustained attacks. From one such break, Roach had to again act sharply to block a one-on-one when Obeng was through on goal.
Wellingborough’s frustrated at not extending their lead was becoming clear and tempers boiled over midway through the half, leading to a flurry of yellow cards. Unsurprisingly, another foul on Marcus Cole deep in his own half resulted in a second yellow for a Wellingborough man, leaving his team to face the last 15 minutes a man short.
The home keeper then did well to push away a shot from Cole and a Sam Collison header from a corner struck the under-side of the crossbar as Histon pushed forward in pursuit of goals. But with 10 minutes remaining the game was wrapped up when Obeng won a race for the ball against Roach and made the game safe for Wellingborough.
But there was more to come for the crowd of just over 100 as the home side were reduced to nine following a second yellow for kicking the ball away. Consequently, it became a game of Histon attack v Wellingborough defence for the closing minutes. Dexter Todd had a shot saved by the defiant home keeper who then smothered a Luke Lindsay effort after he made himself the space to shoot, but the home defence ultimately prevailed.
The final whistle brought celebrations from the home dugout as they secured a win and a clean sheet, largely due to the excellence of their keeper behind a well organised defence. Conversely, the score could have been much greater but for Histon’s own stopper who made a string of saves to match his counterpart at the other end.
Next up for Histon’s walking wounded is a trip to Cogenhoe United on Saturday in search of a first win of the season.
Histon: Sam Roach, Sam Collison, Pat Bexfield (Dexter Todd 59), Ryan Towner, Rob Ruddy, Ollie Brookes, Ed Rolph (Bubba Camara 40), Harvey Bullinaria (Jack Beasley 86), Luke Lindsay, Marcus Cole, Charlie Tunnell.
Histon subs not used: N/A.
Histon yellow cards: Bullinaria, Towner.