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The day when village side Histon defeated giants Leeds United in the FA Cup, second round

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‘Unfortunately, the postman won’t deliver anymore,” jokes Matt Langston, when he reflects on a decade since one of the most famous days in Histon’s history.

Back on November 30, 2008, the then 27-year-old was working for Royal Mail by day, and by evening and weekends was a centre-back in the Conference.

And Langston found himself thrust into the spotlight in one of the biggest giant-killing acts of the time as the non-League side toppled then League One outfit Leeds United in the second round of the FA Cup.

More than 4,500 had crowded into the Bridge Road ground, along with the national media and the television cameras to broadcast the game live on ITV.

It was ripe for an upset as the rain pelted down, making it difficult to see through the lenses of the camera at times, Langston’s 39th-minute header proved decisive in a 1-0 win.

Histon FC v Leeds Utd. Pictures: Mark Hopkin. (5703319)
Histon FC v Leeds Utd. Pictures: Mark Hopkin. (5703319)

“Leeds were probably at one of the lowest points they’ve been in the last 50 years, or maybe longer,” he said.

“But they were a powerhouse in English football and we had our day. We took our opportunity when it really mattered.

“When you look back, they had a few players that have definitely gone on and done well in the league. It was a great occasion.

“We matched them on the day, and deserved the win. There was a big build-up to the game, we had the FA Cup at the ground a few days before.

“People were anticipating the possibility of a shock.

“With the goal, I remember GG (Gareth Gwillam) putting it in and I didn’t really do much movement, I got in front of my man and headed it downwards and it skidded off the turf and went in.

“The second half was a struggle, we restricted them as best we could. GG cleared one off the line and Danny Naisbitt made a few good saves.

“We had a bit of luck on the day, the weather played into our hands more than theirs. It was nice at the end to celebrate with everyone, and was a great moment.”

Histon FC v Leeds Utd. Pictures: Mark Hopkin. (5703325)
Histon FC v Leeds Utd. Pictures: Mark Hopkin. (5703325)

Many of the Leeds team on duty at the Glass World that day have gone on to have future success, with Fabian Delph captaining England against the USA two weeks ago, Robert Snodgrass playing for Scotland and Jonny Howson carving out a successful career at Leeds, then Norwich and now Middlesbrough.

Life has changed for Langston too.

The national media loved the play on the ‘postman delivering’ after his winning goal, but having gone back to college to study carpentry, he now works for a small building firm.

In a football sense, he balances coaching at AFC Dunstable with being a season ticket holder at his beloved West Ham.

“I had a few injuries and I went on loan to Crawley for a bit, then the following season I went to Eastbourne but I picked up a bad knee injury,” said Langston, who also spent two years at Cambridge City.

“That was it really. I struggled to get back to that level. I went with John Beck to Kettering, but I ruptured my Achilles.

“I completed my B licence last year and just help out AFC Dunstable, who are in the same league as Cambridge City.”

Matt Langston, left, with Mat Mitchel-King when Histon beat Leeds Utd. Pictures: Mark Hopkin. (5703344)
Matt Langston, left, with Mat Mitchel-King when Histon beat Leeds Utd. Pictures: Mark Hopkin. (5703344)

For the clubs, their fortunes have definitely varied.

Leeds, under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa, are knocking on the door to get back into the Premier League, while Histon have slipped back to the Eastern Counties League, although are currently having a good season, top of the Premier Division.

“Leeds are on the up and have one of the best coaches in the world taking them forward,” said Langston. “Leeds have had their struggles and hopefully now Histon have turned the corner.

“I think Lance Key has brought some great stability to the team and they seem to have a real togetherness again.

“Histon are improving under Lance and have that togetherness which is where it all started really; it’s the fundamentals of a good team – over the season that’s where the characters in the team drive them forward.

“Max York has double figures of goals, he’s a strong centre-half and a really good character; Lance has his two boys playing and Lewis McDonald is there who I remember helping out with the kit and behind the scenes. I sent Lance a picture the other day of when we won the Conference South; Lance was in it, I was in it and so were Lewis McDonald and Evan, Lance’s son.

“There’s that togetherness that took Histon to where it was and hopefully Lance has tapped into that again and can take it back to where it was.”

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