HEYBRIDGE Swifts fans saw a new side to manager Stuart Nethercott as he raged at the decisions made by Army referee Christopher Hastings, writes JON LONGMAN.

The Swifts slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against Histon in the opening Pitching In Isthmian League North fixture despite signing Nigerian Irishman Chinedu Osadebe in an attempt to solve their lack of options up front.

The Swifts did not help Nethercott’s mood with another frustrating performance. They converted only one chance from a hatful of opportunities created by Tyrone Baker and Jack Adlington Pile.

They failed to take advantage of a Histon defence hastily reshuffled by manager Lance Key after centre-back James Chivers pulled up with a muscle injury during the warm-up.

Nethercott’s frustration at his players not being able to capitalize on this scenario grew and grew — at one point he ran down the touchline to make his views known to the referee when the lively Pile was scythed down by a Histon defender who escaped a booking.

The referee, who was being assessed, made more puzzling decisions that resulted in Histon captain Max York being booked for remonstrating too loud and too long after the referee awarded a free kick for a foul.

York was a key member of the Histon defensive quartet who soaked up an immense amount of Swifts pressure in the first 30 minutes and again in the final ten minutes of the feisty clash.

Nethercott said: “I would have been more concerned about the result if we hadn’t created any chances.

“This league is as competitive as any in non-league football. Any number of teams could in the mix come the end of this season. We are determined to be in and around that mark.

“For the Swifts, it is vital to bring the new squad of players together and give more than a dozen new arrivals time to gel.

“I will be the first to admit that we may be inconsistent at times as we were today.

“But assistant manager Michael Pulford and I are confident that the lads’ ability and desire will see us be a successful side over time.”

There is considerable pressure on Osadebe, who has been signed to resolve the search for a striker.

The former Coggeshall Town looked lively in last Thursday night’s training session but he will need time to hone his understanding with team-mates.

Osedabe, whose talents were discovered when he played for League of Ireland side Dundalk, will come up against his former team-mates on Saturday when the Swifts travel to West Street.

Swifts fans will make an instant comparison between Osedabe and former Swifts favourite Matt Price who has made the reverse journey and is settling in with his new club.

Nethercott discovered the desire of his players with winger Manny Osei-Owusu telling his boss that he was hugely disappointed at being left out of the starting line up.

By the time Owusu came on, Harradine had struck again to give Histon all three points.

Harradine chested a cross down before driving home his first and nine minutes later he smacked his 41st minute free-kick over the Swifts defensive wall.

Swifts fans were puzzled by Adeyemi taking up a position behind the defensive wall.

Chris Gregan, who teased the Histon defence all afternoon with his long throws into the box, clawed a goal back in the 58th minute after Toib Adeyemi lobbed a grenade over the Histon defence to create the consolation goal.

Then Nethercott stepped up the pressure on Histon by sending on forwards Joe Debell and Dechlan Nche but to no avail.

There were cheers and groans from the Swifts fans in a promising crowd of 247 that grossed more than £1,000.

Urging their side to snatch an equaliser, they saw efforts from Adeyemi, Owusu and Pile scrambled clear.

Adeyemi was booked for the second week in a row as his frustrations overflowed but Histon hung on to avenge the 3-2 home defeat in the opening game of last season.