Littleton 1-0 Hinckley AFC
Hinckley AFC slipped to a third defeat of the season, this time 1-0 to Littleton in an ill-tempered affair at Five Acres.
Despite a good performance, it was another match of frustration for Hinckley, who, like in the previous three matches, wasted too many good chances to take the lead, and they were punished after he interval.
Will Gayton scored the only goal of the match midway through the second half, and only Hinckley ‘keeper Sam Arnold prevented a 2-0 scoreline when he saved a late penalty.
Hinckley were missing Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell and the injured Luke Richards, but still dominated the first half. The returning Justin Nisbett, playing on the right wing, beat his man and crossed towards JJ Melligan in the box. However, the ball took a bobble off the bumpy pitch, and ballooned off Melligan’s shin over the bar.
Nisbett then struck just wide of the post following good work by James Bennett-Tindall, before Bennett-Tindall himself could have opened the scoring, but the ball got caught under his feet after taking a bobble.
The second half was a slightly more even affair, with Hinckley still having the better of the goal scoring opportunities.
After an hour, a nasty tackle on JJ Melligan meant that the Hinckley captain was forced off injured. After the game, manager Carl Abbott said that Melligan would be out ‘for a spell’.
It was Littleton, who took the lead midway through the second half. A long goal kick up field from Haydn Whitcombe sailed over the Hinckley defence, and Gayton latched onto it and slotted home despite Arnold’s best efforts.
Hinckley could have equalised immediately, when Nisbett’s trickery on the wing saw him beat his man and cross for Bellingham, whose shot looked to be going wide before Bennett-Tindall ghosted in at the far post. The ball took another bobble, though, and the young winger couldn’t convert the chance.
Littleton were then awarded a penalty when they broke down their left through substitute Jamie Clarke, who was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by the floored Bekir Halil. To Hinckley’s bemusement, a penalty was given, but Arnold dived to his right to save the low spot kick.
Hinckley felt that they should have had a penalty of their own in the game’s dying moments, when Bellingham appeared to be elbowed in the box, but there was no decision forthcoming from referee Ben Morris.
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Bekir Halil, Isaac Cooper, Nathan Walker, Dominic Smith, John Clapp, JJ Melligan (Adrian Jones 61), Avun Jephcott (Ryan Taylor 78), Mark Bellingham, James Bennett-Tindall, Justin Nisbett. Subs not used: George Williams, Ray Facey, Matt Martin.