Ten-man Histon helped their survival chances massively as they beat Uxbridge by a final score of 3-2, in front of 143 fans on a beautiful April afternoon at home.
Histon headed into today’s game with their manager Lance Key’s demands for a win ringing in their ears. Anything less than a win today all but secures their relegation from the EvoStik League Southern Division 1 Central. They hosted an Uxbridge side short of recent form coming off a heavy 3-1 defeat away to Aylesbury.
Histon manager Lance Key was able to call upon on Leyton Orient’s 17-year-old keeper Sam Roach.
The first half was a tight affair with very few clear cut chances for either side. Histon lined up with a back 3 and looked to flood the midfield, targeting the right side of the Uxbridge as a particular weakness. Uxbridge lined up in a 4-4-2, relying greatly on the pace of full back Andy Dean, leading scorer Abobaker Eisa and right winger David Manul.
It was the link up of Dean and Eisa which lead to the opening goal on 23 minutes. Dean collected a ball in the left back position and brought it forward for Eisa to drive and play an excellent low cross into the box. Uxbridge had flooded the area on the counter attack and the ball was knocked in by Anthony Thomas at the near post.
Histon only had half chances in the opening 45, the best of those falling to Tommy Wright, but his shots lacked power and conviction and were easily dealt with by the Uxbridge defenders and failed to trouble Paul McCarthy in the Reds’ goal.
Uxbridge ended the half with the better of the play applying late pressure to the home side’s goal, but could not create any clear chances to convert their possession.
The second half was a much more open game after Lewis Clayton equalised five minutes in, scrambling the ball just over the line after a long ball into the box caused problems for the Uxbridge defenders. Paul McCarthy thought he had saved the shot but the linesman confirmed the goal.
Histon had the lead on 73 minutes. Another long throw into the area wasn’t dealt with by the Uxbridge defenders and was rifled in by Simon Unwin.
Histon doubled their advantage two minutes later with a similarly worked goal, this time from a long throw. Paul McCarthy in the Uxbridge goal came for the ball but mishandled it. His defenders failed to clear in the aftermath and James Carman was on hand to finish into the unguarded net. Carman’s delight was clear to see as he sprinted shirtless into a group of fans pitchside, picking up a yellow for his troubles.
There was more drama on 80 minutes as Histon’s Lewis Clayton collected his second yellow card for pulling back Uxbridge’s captain Wayne Carter. This lead Keys to make a double sub, replacing Chambers-Shaw and Carman with Joe Carden and Marcus Hall.
Uxbridge made the man advantage tell as they attacked relentlessly in the final minutes, but some confident goalkeeping from Sam Roach kept the Reds at bay. Uxbridge had another one back deep into injury time as Uxbridge’s leading scorer Eisa buried a penalty the to bottom left of Sam Roach, but Histon would hold out to get a richly deserved win.
After the game Lance Key was critical of some the referee’s performance, “At times I think he was poor, but one thing I did like was he gave you a reason for the decision.” and was understandably unhappy with the sending-off “I think Lewis Clayton getting sent off for two yellow cards was a bit harsh.”
For Key, the biggest issue of the first 45 was a lack of tempted, and not putting pressure on Uxbridge. At halftime he told the players, “The next 45 is crucial to our season, we’ve come this far.” and to play with “no regrets, go out there and do what you’ve been doing for the last three or four game
Clearly, for Key, the break brought about a change in tempo and play from his players, “Second half we got them turned, we put balls in the box and created a bit of havoc. At this level of football that’s all it can take this time to score goals sometimes.” and that the win was “fully deserved.”.
Captain Max York on the feeling of the players pre-game ” I think it was always going to be a difficult game knowing we had to win, sometimes we put the pressure on ourselves to win.”
Few people in the ground had as good a view on the penalty award as York, “It was a harsh, harsh penalty. But like Lance has said I think the referee was poor today. It comes down to us digging in and scoring the goals that we scored. We beat them fair.”