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Histon produce gritty display in narrow defeat to leaders Maldon & Tiptree in BetVictor Isthmian League, North Division

James Chivers was part of a dogged Histon defence against Maldon & Tiptree. Picture: David Johnson
James Chivers was part of a dogged Histon defence against Maldon & Tiptree. Picture: David Johnson

Histon produced a gritty and battling performance to make Maldon & Tiptree dig deep to earn a 12th away win out of 12 in the BetVictor Isthmian League, North Division.

Substitute Jake Cass was the matchwinner for the Jammers, striking in the 76th minute to finally breakdown the resolute Stutes.

It was an impressive display from Histon in the first half against a Maldon & Tiptree side who had only dropped eight points in the league all season and had a 100 per cent record on their results.

Stutes centre-back James Chivers particularly caught the eye with a calm and composed display as the visitors targeted the left channel.

Maldon & Tiptree, who were only beaten 1-0 by Sky Bet League Two Newport County in the FA Cup, are the division’s top scorers, and you could see why given their movement in the final third. But Histon had proved equal to it.

If the visitors breached the resolute Histon defensive line, then they were unable to get past keeper Phil Peachey, who was named the sponsors’ man of the match.

It was the Stutes that should have taken the lead inside the first minute. Ed Rolph latched on to a ball straight through the middle of the defence, but he was unable to make a proper connection with his shot and it proved a simple gather for Maldon keeper Ben McNamara.

Three minutes later, Stephane Ngamvoulou’s low cross was met by Charlee Hughes at the front post, but Peachy scrambled to keep the ball out, despite appeals that it had crossed the line.

Jorome Slew broke into the area in the eighth minute, but Peachey was down low to stop the effort, and the Histon keeper then produced a double save to deny William Cracknell and Slew from a corner.

While Histon as an attacking threat were a little bit more subdued than their opponents, it did not mean that they did not pose a danger.

Pat Bexfield hit the Maldon & Tiptree bar with an inswinging corner in the 24th minute and, as play swung down the other end, Peachey stood tall to turn Danny Parish’s shot wide and a deflected effort went wide in the ensuing scramble from the set piece.

The final chance of the half went the way of the hosts, with Bexfield firing across goal when he probably should have at least hit the target.

More of the same was needed from the Stutes after the break if they were to delay Maldon & Tiptree’s charge for the title.

Histon demonstrated their threat on the counter at the start of the second half, with a flowing move from one end of the pitch to the other leading to Evan Key’s shot being saved by McNamara.

Maldon & Tiptree’s first full sight of goal came in the 62nd minute as Hughes let fly from 25 yards but, with Peachey beaten, the chance went narrowly wide.

As the visitors upped the ante, Peachey produced a superb diving save to deny Martyn Stokes’ flicked front-post header from Connor Hubble’s free kick in the 73rd minute and then had to be alert to hold Max York’s back header.

But the deadlock was broken in the 76th minute.

Another brilliant inswinging delivery from Stokes was met by substitute Jake Cass to stab home from close range.

Maldon & Tiptree almost got a second when Cass’ header from Al-Amin Kazeem’s left-wing cross thundered back off the bar.

And despite raising the tempo in the closing stages, Histon were unable to grab an equaliser.

Histon: Peachey, McDonald, Lawrence, Bexfield, York, Chivers, Rolph, Coy, Brown, Key, Harradine.

Substitutes: Ballester (Lawrence, 57), Mair (Harradine, 77), Mullee (Brown, 82). Substitutes not used: Gould.

Maldon & Tiptree: McNamara, Ngamvoulou, Kazeem, Collinge, Cracknell, Stokes, Parish, Hubble, Hughes, Slew, Onovwigun.

Subs: Cass (Slew, 65), Kaid (Parish, 65), Dombaxe (Onovwigun, 84). Substitutes not used: Girdlestone.

Referee: Tim Donnellan.

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