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Lance Key salutes belief and resilience of Histon in battle to beat the drop in Northern Premier League

Lance Key has cited Histon’s resilience and belief after moving out of the automatic relegation places in the Northern Premier League, Midlands Division.

The Stutes have been in the bottom two for a long spell this season, but a 0-0 draw at home to league leaders Ilkeston Town last Saturday has seen them move to third from bottom, which is a relegation play-off place.

“It’s a coupon buster, us drawing with them,” said Histon boss Key. “It’s one of those where we wanted to put a few wrongs right from the 8-0 at our place.

“They are a very good side, and will probably go on to win the league.

“I just thought the way we went about it, we rolled our sleeves up as a squad and dug deep again, and in the last 10 minutes we could have just pinched it with a bit more quality in the last third. It’s a great result for us, but it’s only one point and we have to go again.

“We’re just above Wisbech by one point, and Soham by three points. Sutton Coldfield beat Stamford on Saturday which didn’t help our cause as they are nine points away from us, so that will be a tough ask.

“It will go to the wire, no doubt.”

The 8-0 defeat away to Ilkeston on October 2 had left Key questioning his own position, but Histon have never lost belief that they could get themselves out of trouble.

It has shown in the last week in the matches against the top five, with the draw with Ilkeston coming after a 2-0 win over Carlton Town and a narrow 1-0 defeat at Stamford.

“To get four points out of nine against three top five sides is an unbelievable achievement in terms of where we’ve been previously,” said Key.

“Since we got beat by Ilkeston 8-0, we’ve been a better side. It was one of the lowest points of my career, no doubt, and I contemplated jacking it in, thinking I’d taken the club as far as I could.

“I had a chat with the board and some of the senior players, but you think actually we can still do this, and fair play to the players.

“We’ve had a mixed bag of players in the squad at times where we’ve not had a settled side. Right now we’ve got people coming back into it.

“We’ve just got a bit more about us at the minute, and we’re harder to beat.”

Helping to boost Histon has been the returns of Danny Gould, who is currently injured, and former captain Max York, the form of Ryan Towner in midfield and the return to form of skipper Ed Rolph.

Lee Smith and Evan Key are also getting closer to a return to full fitness.

Histon’s next two games are away to Corby Town and home to Shepshed Dynamo, but Key is reading nothing into their mid-table positions.

And he added: “We said after the game it’s ours to lose now, even if it’s the play-off spot so we’ve just got to try to cement that position but also improve by winning a few more games in the run-in.”

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