Pilkington XXX 2-5 Hinckley AFC

Pilkington XXX 2-5 Hinckley AFC

Hinckley AFC returned to winning ways in the league with a 5-2 victory over Pilkington XXX on Saturday.

It was by no means a classic on a hard, bouncy pitch, and it wasn’t until the final minute of normal time that Hinckley made sure of their victory.

Justin Nisbett started and completed the scoring, with Phil Chesters’ own goal, Nathan Walker and Mark Bellingham also getting on the scoresheet for Hinckley, who were twice pegged back by their nine man hosts.

With John Clapp suspended, Alex Morris came into the Hinckley back four for his first start, while Isaac Cooper came in for the injured Ray Facey at left back.

It was the home side who started the brighter; Hinckley ‘keeper Sam Arnold being called into action twice early on. First, he tipped onto the crossbar from Jacob Snape, before turning over from Kyle Turner’s header.

After eleven minutes, a ricochet saw Bellingham receive the ball in the corner of the box, but his right footed snap shot was saved low by Reece Francis.

Hinckley, though, only had to wait another minute to take the lead. Walker’s switch of play found JJ Melligan on the right, and the skipper’s deep cross found Dominic Smith. Smith’s powerful header was only parried by Francis, and Nisbett was on hand to slam the ball home from close range.

Midway through the first half, Bellingham and Nisbett combined, but the winger failed to add to his tally and could only shoot into the side netting.

Pilkington then went down to ten men just after the half hour mark. James Bennett-Tindall, a constant threat down the right wing, was fouled after beating Jake Harvey. Harvey was booked, but after continuing to remonstrate with the officials, he was dismissed for dissent.

But the ten men of the home side continued to battle, and they levelled on the stroke of half time. Turner, the league’s joint top scorer, ghosted away from the Hinckley defence and finished well from a tight angle.

Six minutes into the second half and Hinckley had regained the lead. Bellingham beat Matthew Stirzaker with the ball, and after getting to the byline, his low pull back was diverted into his own net by Chesters.

Francis then saved Melligan’s shot in a crowded box as Hinckley pushed for a third, but the next goal came at the other end as Hinckley were pulled back again.

A high ball over the top caught out the Hinckley defence, and the ball span off Odane Barnes’ shin and looped into the back of the net.

The home side were level for less than five minutes when Hinckley took the lead for the third time. Substitute Ryan Taylor’s cross was fractionally too high for Nisbett, but Walker took the ball down at the far post and drilled through Francis’ legs.

With three minutes to go, the home side were reduced to nine men when Jack McGinn, a second half substitute, was shown a second yellow card for hauling down Taylor.

And Hinckley made their two man advantage count in the dying moments to make sure of their three points. Bellingham tucked under Francis after being sent through to make it 4-2, before Hinckley won the ball back straight from kick off, and Bellingham’s through ball allowed Nisbett to slot into the corner for the fifth.

Pilkington XXX: Reece Francis, Phil Chesters, Jake Harvey, Kieran McCalla, Chris Reeves, Matthew Stirzaker (Jack McGinn 52), Craig Oldfield, Jack Gauntlett (Sam Hawker 39), Kyle Turner, Odane Barnes, Jacob Snape. Subs not used: Alex Griffin, Jake Wicketts.

Goals: Kyle Turner (45), Odane Barnes (70).

Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Bekir Halil, Isaac Cooper (Mitchell Tomlinson 81), Dominic Smith, Alex Morris, Asa Wright (Dominic Oliver 58), JJ Melligan, Nathan Walker, Mark Bellingham, James Bennett-Tindall (Ryan Taylor 58), Justin Nisbett. Subs not used: Jordan Rushton, Liam Storer.

Goals: Justin Nisbett (12, 90+), Phil Chesters (51, OG), Nathan Walker (75), Mark Bellingham (90)

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