Second-half goal blitz costs Badgers dearly

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FA Cup 2nd Qualfying Round

Eastwood Town 3 Histon 5

Three minutes of madness in the second-half ultimately cost Eastwood Town after having taken the game to their Blue Square North opponents Histon.

The Badgers’ performance showed confidence is certainly returning to the squad, and although they were eventually beaten Eastwood looked certain winners for much of the match.

After a bright start, TJ Nightingale fired just wide of the post on six minutes while at the othere end the Eastwood defence were keeping the Histon attack at bay and forcing only long range efforts, so it was no surprise when Anthony Griffith Jnr opened the scoring on 29 minutes.

A throw was allowed to go through to the striker inside the box and although he didn’t make contact cleanly, it was enough to deceive everyone and nestle nicely in the bottom corner of the goal.

The rest of the first-half belonged to the Badgers with Harri Hawkins’ desperate last ditch tackle preventing Nightingale from increasing their half-time advantage.

Histon came out with more purpose in the second-half and Jim Stevenson should have equalised but directed his header the wrong side of the post.

The visitors had an even better chance to restore parity five minutes later when Jordan Pavett went down under Perry Marriott’s challenge, leaving the referee with no option but to award a penalty. Pavett picked himself up to take the kick but Sam Andrew was down quickly to save.

Back came the Badgers. Mitch Hanson saw a superb header clawed over by the keeper when it looked a goal all the way and from the resulting corner Hanson was again denied, this time his goalbound shot being headed off the line by Hawkins.

At 2-0 it would have been game over, however the Cambridgeshire club hit the home side with three goals in three minutes just after the hour mark.

First Saul Otobo, who faced the Badgers for Stocksbridge a week earlier, outpaced Romaine Graham and finished coolly by gliding the ball past Andrew.

A minute later Stevenson tried his luck from out wide and caught Andrew flat footed to score a goal out of nothing.

Then Otobo, who only signed the day before, nipped in front of the Eastwood defenders to score his second of the game.

Badgers boss John Ramshaw made a couple of changes as his side regrouped and chased the game. Those changes worked and Griffith Jnr reduced the arrears five minutes later by curling a beauty into the top corner.

However the game was effectively over in the 79th minute, Otobo challenging Andrew for a cross and seemingly fouling the Badgers keeper as he scored, the referee deciding no offence had been committed.

Moments later Grant Roberts was given too much time and space to receive a free-kick and his shot beat Andrew down to his right from just outside the box.

Eastwood rallied late on, culminating in Gregg Simmons’ 30-yard shot that flew over the keeper and into the net, but it proved too little, too late for the home side.

Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Alex Troke 3 Paolo Piliero (Elliott Green 68) 4 Romaine Graham 5 Deon Meikle 6 Perry Marriott (Gregg Simmons 64) 7 Jermaine Hollis 8 Mitch Hanson 9 TJ Nightingale 10 Anthony Griffith Jnr 11 Danny Elliott. Subs not used: Paris Simmons, Josh Raven 
Scorers: Griffith Jnr 29, 69, G Simmons 90 

Histon: 1 Calum Kitscha 2 Grant Roberts 3 Harri Hawkins 4 Jay Dowie (Claudiu Hoban 46) 5 Jim Stevenson 6 Danny Fitzsimons 7 Adrian Sear (Deakin Napier 75) 8 George Thomson 9 Saul Otobo 10 Jordan Pavett (Lynval Da Costa 85) 11 Zak Mills. Subs not used: Jack Utteridge, Nick Freeman, Peter Clark, Jamie Crook

Scorers: Otobo 61, 64, 79, Stevenson 63, Roberts 83

Att: 159