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Histon slip to back-to-back defeats at the start of new season after home loss to March Town United

It is now back-to-back defeats at the start of the new United Counties Football League Premier Division South season for Histon following tonight’s 1-0 home loss at the hands of March Town United.

Stutes boss Lance Key made five changes from the side that threw away a two-goal lead at newly-promoted Aylestone Park on Saturday, with goalkeeper Sam Roach and captain Oliver Brookes among the notable returnees.

And the much-altered hosts almost broke the deadlock in the fourth minute when centre-back Max York picked out Connor Barnes’ well-timed run, only for the striker to struggle to get the ball out of his feet before his eventual effort deflected just wide of the target with visiting goalkeeper Jonah Gill stranded.

Histon manager Lance Key. Picture: Keith Heppell
Histon manager Lance Key. Picture: Keith Heppell

However, it was a moment that only served to spark March into life and within 60 seconds they had edged themselves in front. A diagonal pass from back to front left the Histon back three flat footed and Josh Moreman, who scored the only goal of the game in his side’s opening-day victory over Newport Pagnell Town, drilled a shot inside Roach’s near post.

The remainder of the first half will have been a source of great frustration for Histon boss Key, who watched on as his forward players struggled to retain any significant possession while his backline often looked disjointed. Even so, for all of their domination March struggled to carve out much in the way of clear-cut openings, with the closest they came to doubling their advantage coming courtesy of Craig Gillies’ shot that flew just wide of goal.

It was a much more positive start to the second half by the home side and they really should have levelled up the scoreline with 50 minutes on the clock. Luke Lindsay’s slide rule pass sent Barnes clear and he showed good composure to round Gill, but then his shot lacked the necessary power, which allowed Adam Brumby to get back and clear off the line.

And it did not take long for the first-half deficiencies to creep back in as March started to get back on top. Gillies headed straight at Roach, who in the 54th minute showed good athleticism to keep out Moreman and then bounce back to his feet to turn away Jack Saunders' power effort on the rebound.

The introduction of Dan Brown and Danny Gould from the bench breathed some much needed life into the Histon attack as the pair’s direct running and pace started to ask questions of the March rearguard. In the 77th minute Marcus Cole's glancing header just cleared the angle of post and crossbar before Gould’s shot from inside the box took a deflection which made the save easier for Gill.

But despite plenty of endeavour it was not to be, leaving Key and his charges the challenge of having to regroup ahead of Saturday’s trip to higher-league Ipswich Wanderers in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.

- Histon: Roach, Motley (Bullinaria 58’), Collison, Tunnell, York, Brookes, Lindsay (Gould 71’), Camara, Barnes, Cole, Beasley (Brown 58’)

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