When Histon defeated Lowestoft Town in the Emirates FA Cup on September 3 last year, little did goalkeeper Niall Conroy know that it would take so long for the taste of victory to return.
Histon’s only other two wins before 2016 was up came against Barton Rovers, with Conroy absent from the starting line-up, and at Petersfield Town.
The gloveman did in fact start that particular Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central encounter, but he was red carded before the half-time and forced to watch on as his team-mates won a seven-goal thriller.
A January move to Ryman League Division One North side Soham Town Rangers failed to stop the rot, with The Greens also on a poor run of winless form that stretched back 16 matches ahead of Thurrock’s visit on Saturday.
However, after three tough months — six in Conroy’s case — the long wait for three points was ended thanks to Sam Mulready’s quickfire second-half brace, which secured Soham a 2-1 win over their promotion-hunting visitors.
The relief at Julius Martin Lane was palpable once the referee had sounded the final whistle, with a clearly emotional Conroy slumping to the ground.
Speaking once he had gathered his thoughts, the former Godmanchester Rovers goalkeeper said: “It has been a long slog.
“Like all non-league footballers, I work long hours and then do not get in from games until 11pm or midnight on Tuesday nights.
“I don’t see my little one, I don’t see my missus and then it gets to a weekend and you get tonked — it kills your weekend.
“It has been that process over and over again for so many months, but thankfully we have got the win now.”
The triumph did not move Soham out of the bottom three, but it did draw them level on points with 21st-placed Ware, who hold the higher ground by virtue of having scored four more goals.
It means Soham can approach Saturday’s home game with Bowers & Pitsea in a more positive frame of mind, but Conroy has warned the weekend’s win will count for little if they fail to build on the momentum.
“We have got to keep this going and work hard because this is only one game,” he added.
“Now we cannot afford to slip. This should be viewed as just the start.
“We have been putting in some decent performances and some poor ones. Hopefully this will help us find some consistency and get us away from trouble.”
* For reaction from player-manager Robbie Mason, see Thursday’s print edition.