NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: The Huntingdon Town gamble appears to be paying off as new boss Laurence Revells masterminds first win for five months
- Credit: Archant
A big gamble appears to be paying off handsomely for Huntingdon Town.
That is how chairman Doug McIlwain described his recent decision to draft Laurence Revell into the United Counties League strugglers’ hotseat.
Two games, four points and a first win in five months later, it is already looking a shrewd move to hire the ex-Potton United chief.
Town were the only local non-league team still in action last Saturday with the leagues in which St Ives Town, St Neots Town, Godmanchester Rovers and Eynesbury Rovers play in all suspending matches due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
But it was business as usual in Division One of the UCL and Town were no doubt hugely grateful for that as they claimed a notable triumph by beating Blackstones 2-0.
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It arrived in the first home fixture of Revell’s reign and followed on from an encouraging draw at Rushden & Higham as he debuted in the dugout the previous weekend.
This certainly couldn’t be classed as a mass gathering at Jubilee Park, but those present saw Town - featuring another stack of new signings - boost their survival hopes with a surprisingly smooth success.
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Many in attendance were still stirring their coffee or settling into their seat when Huntingdon made the perfect start. It took Blackstones by surprise, too!
New signing Archie Sayer could hardly have started his Town career more spectacularly than with a well-taken opener in the second minute.
The lively Ash Ingham fired tamely at visiting goalkeeper Aaron Bellairs when having a golden opportunity to double the advantage.
Goalscorer Sayer was then denied a second goal by a much tougher save from the Blackstones number one, but Town did succeed in doubling their lead before the break as Ingham reacted smartly and then finished coolly after a shot ricocheted into his path in the box.
Town would no doubt have expected their top-six chasing visitors to pose considerably more threat in the second half, but it didn’t happen. In fact chances were at a premium at both ends.
Blackstones did see an effort from player-boss Lee Clarke - a former St Neots Town man - ruled out while Jordan Slama fired Town’s best opening over the bar.
But a fine Huntingdon victory was marred by a case of apparent mistaken identity in the dying moments.
Full-back Caleb Steele - another of the Town debutants - was dismissed by referee Will Hardie for collecting a second caution even though the challenge in question was actually made by substitute Andrew Samuels.
But that - along with the team above them, Bourne Town, also winning - was only a minor irritation on an afternoon of celebration as the new-look Town side showed they can be match for any side in Division One.
It may be a while before they get to prove that point again with the UCL now postponing all matches until further notice.