Histon FC 2005/06 season review
The disappointment shown on the faces of players and supporters at the end of the play-off final said it all really. So near, yet so far from achieving the dream of playing Conference football.
Maybe the team peaked a game too soon with a quite masterful display against Farnborough but with several key players finding it difficult to make an impact against St Albans, the writing on the wall seemed to grow in font size as the match wore on.
Despite that somewhat tepid performance, one mustn't lose sight of the fact that this first adventure into the Conference South Division proved that they could mix it with the big boys and be as competitive as anyone with no game able to be taken for granted.
Finishing fifth and then reaching the play-off final shows that they will be a force to be reckoned with next season.
It wasn't just in the league though where success was forthcoming. Another great run in the FA Cup saw Histon in the second round proper once again and all those who witnessed the replay against Nuneaton Borough must still be wondering how the Stutes didn't progress further. I can still remember the numb feeling when the winning goal went in, which was just like a dagger through the heart. Seeing the England coach's Middlesbrough team at the Glassworld in the third round would have truly been the icing on a very tasty cake.
One can't forget the progress made in the FA Trophy either with Histon a little unlucky not to get something out of the second round tie at Exeter City, Ian Cambridge's first goal a moment of quality to think back on.
The introduction of Matthew Mitchell-King and Danny Bloomfield during the season added strength at both ends of the pitch but to stay competitive and challenge for honours, new signings will definitely be needed. At times the squad was looking wafer thin due to injuries and suspensions and I expect Steve Fallon has his beady eye on several players he would like to bring to the club.
Radio Cambridgeshire's player of the season award went to Jamie Barker for his all round contribution throughout the campaign. Before Christmas he had to lead the attack when Neil Kennedy and Ian Cambridge were out with long term injuries and not only did he cause problems for opposing defences but also scored a number of spectacular goals.
When you add his ability in the air and the creative flair he possesses when playing out wide on the left, the award was well justified. One can always tell the importance and popularity of a player when the crowd get excited every time he's in possession of the ball.