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Lance Key looks to a bright future as Histon youngsters impress

Histon manager Lance Key
Histon manager Lance Key

Lance Key can see the foundations for next year as Histon’s faith in youngsters reaps rewards in BetVictor Isthmian League, North Division.

The Stutes’ small squad was stretched to its limit last Saturday as they faced league leaders Maldon & Tiptree, but you could hardly tell.

They produced a resilient and battling performance before eventually losing to Jake Cass’ 76th minute goal, which came about from Martyn Stokes’ brilliant free kick. It was Maldon & Tiptree’s 12th win out of 12 away from home.

“We’ve had a tough run of games, and the way we’ve gone about certain games of late is testament to the players when we have nothing really to play for,” said Histon boss Key.

“It’s a phenomenal achievement, 12 out of 12 [wins away], and we said before the game, ‘can we be the first team to take points off them home and away’ because no-one else has done that and we fell just short.”

Goalkeeper Phil Peachey was rightly named man of the match for a string of top saves, but pushing him all the way for the plaudit was centre-back James Chivers, who caught the eye with a calm and assured display.

“I think James has come on in leaps and bounds in the last 18 months especially,” said Key.

“I coached him as a youngster in my colts team and he has improved immensely.

“He went to Newmarket a few years ago and didn’t quite make the grade. He went to Soham under Steve Fallon and didn’t make the grade as such, but perhaps he didn’t get the chance and that is probably the difference.

“We’ve given him a chance and he has flourished.

“We moved him from right-back to centre-half by fluke in a way and he has had an outstanding season.

“The way the game went, we deserved a clean sheet and that’s one thing we have to take heart from – but we didn’t quite get one.”

The display has certainly provided Key with optimism for the rest of the current campaign, and beyond.

“At the moment, we’re not getting the rub of the green but we’re not going down with a whimper. We’re fighting hard for it and that’s good character and testament to the club that we have,” he said.

“The youngsters that have come in so far this year have done extremely well, and if we can add one or two senior players next year to what we’ve got, I think we will be OK.

“It’s a stepping stone. When we won the league last year, we said it would be a consolidation year, it is that.

“We were probably above our grade slightly for two-thirds of the season, now we’re finding it difficult because we’ve got a small squad. I think that shows but as long as we don’t go down, we’ve achieved something this year.”

Cambridge City are the form side in the division, and Luke Knight’s goal helped them to a 1-0 win at Heybridge Swifts.

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