Alvechurch 2-1 Hinckley AFC
The lights went out on Hinckley AFC’s JW Hunt Cup campaign as they were beaten 2-1 by Alvechurch at Lye Meadow.
In front of a low crowd of just 65, at least half of whom travelled from Leicestershire, Alvechurch were leading 1-0 at half time through Gareth Evans.
The start of the second half was delayed by a power cut in the local area, butHinckley grabbed a deserved equaliser with ten minutes remaining through Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell’s stunner. However, parity lasted only a matter of minutes until Evans capitalised on an error from the Hinckley defence.
Hinckley made five changes to the side that beat Cadbury Athletic on Saturday: Dominic Smith, Asa Wright, Simon Johnson, Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell and James Bennett-Tindall all coming in.
And it was the visitors who started the brighter – Avun Jephcott’s powerful run ended with his shot being comfortably saved by Stuart Parsons.
Then, Matt Gardner, fresh from his treble at the weekend, turned on a sixpence on the edge of the box but dragged his shot narrowly wide.
As Alvechurch grabbed a foothold in the game, their main threat came through Evans. His run down the left channel saw him get to the byline and pull a ball back for Andy Nicol, whose shot was deflected over.
Then, a similar run down the right channel wasn’t dealt with by the Hinckley defence, and Sam Arnold tipped wide to keep the scores level.
Nicol then shot wide after getting in behind Mitchell Tomlinson, before Alvechurch took the lead after 35 minutes. The Hinckley back line was caught out by a long ball, and Evans made no mistake – his sweet strike into the top corner gave Arnold no chance.
Hinckley almost responded immediately, but Bennett-Tindall’s 30 yard strike flew inches wide with Parsons beaten.
Danny Carter should have doubled Alvechurch’s lead on the stroke of half time, but he never looked confident when one on one with Arnold, and the Hinckley ‘keeper saved well.
The opening stages of the second half were quiet until tempers flared in an incident on the touchline, when Wright appeared to be thrown to the floor by a member of Alvechurch’s coaching staff.
Not to be deterred, the Hinckley midfielder met Isaac Cooper’s long throw soon after, but his header was straight at Parsons.
Arnold prevented a second Alvechurch goal fifteen minutes from time when he got a fingertip to Evans’ shot, deflecting it onto the inside of the post with Alvechurch’s dugout prematurely celebrating a goal.
Hinckley scored the goal they thoroughly deserved with ten minutes remaining, and it was well worth the wait. Clarke-O’Connell’s mazy run saw him beat two defenders before unleashing a precise shot into the bottom corner to draw his side level.
But Hinckley had been level for just two minutes when their defence left Evans in too much space on the edge of the box, and he made no mistake from fifteen yards.
And despite some late pressure, the closest Hinckley came was when substitute Justin Nisbett drove into the box, but scuffed his shot into Parsons’ grateful arms.
Alvechurch: Stuart Parsons, Aaron Roberts (Dale Edwards 67), Anthony Fitzmaurice, Kyle Morrison, Jesse Race, James Cosgrave, Dan Carter, Michael McGrath, Gareth Evans, Andy Nicol, Luke Shearer. Subs not used: Joe Adams, Danny Williams, Brendan Kelly, Jack Cresswell.
Goals: Gareth Evans (35, 82)
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Mitchell Tomlinson, Isaac Cooper, Dominic Smith (Robbie Millington 45), Jordan Rushton, Asa Wright, Simon Johnson (Nathan Walker 73), Avun Jephcott, Matt Gardner, Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell, James Bennett-Tindalll (Justin Nisbett 73). Subs not used: Dominic Oliver, Luke Richards.
Goal: Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell (80)