Histon FC 0 : 0 St Neots Town FC
Match
32
Histon FC 0 : 0
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 24 January, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division

 

HISTON       0        ST NEOTS TOWN       0

 

            When Manager David Batch arrived in late December one of his priorities looked to be tightening up the St Neots defence that had leaked 43 goals in just 26 matches and he has addressed this problem quite successfully for the side has conceded just three goals in the first five games of his reign including two clean sheets away from home.  

            Unfortunately, at the same time the goals have dried up at the other end with only five scored in those five games and that includes three against Dunstable.   Leading scorer Drew Roberts last hit the back of the net on January 1st and Ben Mackey returning from injury in this game for the suspended Nathan Frater has not scored since 6th December drawing a blank in each of his last four outings.

         However this was a game in which the strikers should have improved on their recent records because opponents Histon, whom St Neots beat 4-0 at the Cozy Stadium in September, are a poor and very young side and never looked like scoring in this match.  

            St Neots dominated possession, especially in the disappointing first half and should have been out of sight by half time. Luck was with Histon, whose defence blocked innumerable efforts and deflected others but if St Neots are to retain play off hopes they must dramatically increase their strike rate – and soon. Josh Bickerstaff also returned after missing thirteen games through injury and he slotted in comfortably and confidently at full back and also restored to the side following injury was midfielder Matt Spring.

            It began badly for St Neots when central defender and skipper Ryan Frater broke down in the pre-match warm up with a recurrence of a calf strain to be replaced by David Hutton with Adam Tann handed Frater’s place in defence and the captain’s armband. Tom Ward’s headed flick from a Spring corner was St Neots first goal attempt but it was blocked and then from a free kick on the edge of the box Spring shot wide. St Neots were dominating despite never adapting to an extremely heavy pitch and Jack Wilkinson shot wide and Mackey headed over from a corner and had a second effort deflected wide. He was then tripped but no penalty was awarded and Drew Roberts headed over from one of half a dozen first half corners.   Whilst all this was going on Histon managed just two serious shots on goal from Tye Phillips and Eugene Lambertucci but both were well off target with Paul Bastock in goal having a very easy half.

            Histon began the second half much better and a Stuart Wall header from a corner forced Bastock into his only real save of the match at the foot of a post. Then after 52 minutes, in a scene resembling panic in the Histon defence, three close range shots were blocked before Mackey headed down a cross from the right for Wilkinson to net but he was ruled offside. In the melee, Histon full back Ashley White was injured and stretchered off to the dressing room. The closest St Neots came to a goal was when Max York crossed to pick out the unmarked Mackey but his hurried shot hit Histon goalkeeper Enol Ordonez to rebound and be cleared. The Histon keeper continued to dominate his box cutting out dangerous crosses from York, Bickerstaff and substitute Ed Adjei and in a rare Histon attack Evan Key got the ball in the net for the home side but he had impeded Bastock and fortunately the effort was disallowed. Youngster Luis Vieira was also introduced in a bid to add pace and variation in attack and he skied over the bar but St Neots were looking increasingly frustrated as a Bickerstaff shot was blocked and a Mackey effort deflected for a corner. Four minutes from time what looked like a deliberate handball in the penalty area by a Histon defender was missed by the Referee and that seemed to sum up St Neots’ afternoon. However deep into added time there was a yellow card for third substitute Ben Ford just five minutes after his late introduction.

 

St Neots: Bastock, York, Bickerstaff, Tann, Hutton, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Mackey, Roberts, Wilkinson

Subs: Adjei (for Hutton 65), Vieira (for Hilliard 76), Ford (for Mackey 90 + 1), Plowright and Davis

Cards:  Ford (Y – 90 + 7)

Goals:  none

 

Histon:  Ordonez, Smith, White, Key, Wall, Rumens, Clark, Libertucci, Phillips, Simpson, Freeman

Subs:  McDonald (for White 53), Relizani (for Phillips 71), Fulcher (for Simpson 86) McCoy and North.

Cards:  none

Goals:  none

 

Attendance: 386

 

Referee: James Hillier (Bletchley)

 

John Walker