Hinckley AFC 2-1 Redditch United
Hinckley AFC’s 2-1 FA Cup First Qualifying Round victory over Redditch United may well go down as the club’s finest in its short history thus far.
Carl Abbott’s side overcame a three step and 62-place disadvantage to extend their inaugural FA Cup run into a fifth match with victory over the Southern League Premier Division visitors.
Former Redditch striker Marco Adaggio gave Hinckley an early lead, which was doubled by Sean Williams ten minutes before half time.
Robbie Bunn pulled a goal back for the Reds before the interval, but Hinckley held on during a tense second half despite the late dismissal of Dom Smith, as Redditch couldn’t adapt to Hinckley’s change of system.
Hinckley made three changes to the side that beat Wolves Sporting in the FA Vase last week, with Williams, Nathan Walker and Jordan Nadat coming into the side.
The visitors, starting the match as favourites, were comfortable in possession early on, but Hinckley held their shape well and grew into the game as the early stages progressed.
And ten minutes in, the shock was on. Nadat carried the ball forward, and his low cross spilled to Walker. On his 50th appearance for the club, Walker could only scuff his shot, but Adaggio was on hand to stab home and give his side the lead.
Then, Walker’s 25 yard free kick was deflected safely into the hands of Stuart Parsons, before Redditch went close through a free kick of their own thanks to Danny Dubidat’s fierce strike, but Sam Arnold was equal to it.
Shortly before the half hour, Mitchell Tomlinson released Adaggio, who in turn fed Williams. His first time strike was well saved, with the resulting corner being headed over by Smith.
Redditch came close to an equaliser through their captain Dubidat five minutes later, but Arnold palmed his side footed effort onto the crossbar.
And that save was to prove crucial two minutes later, when Williams’ slalom run ended with a powerful shot that beat Parsons at his near post to double AFC’s lead.
At that stage, Hinckley would have liked to go into the interval with their two goal lead intact, but the lead was halved four minutes before the interval when Bunn’s low drive found the net after Hinckley failed to clear.
The visitors started the second half on top, but it was Hinckley who had the first chance after the break. Adaggio should have bagged his second of the game, but failed to connect after being released by substitute Luke Richards.
Hinckley thought they had restored their two goal lead when Richards’ shot was diverted into the net by Nadat, but he was denied by the assistant referee’s flag.
Redditch then began to pile on the pressure, and after George Carline headed narrowly past Arnold’s post, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd struck wide.
Then, after Nadat struck straight at Parsons, Rico Taylor maintained Hinckley’s lead by heading off the line.
Hinckley’s nerves were tested two minutes from time when Smith was shown a straight red card for a foul just outside the box, but Redditch failed to make the most of the dangerous position and Hinckley held on for the win that sparked jubilation from players and fans alike.
Abbott’s side are now the lowest ranked side left in the competition, and await the draw for the Second Qualifying Round that takes place on Monday.
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Mitchell Tomlinson, Rico Taylor, Dom Smith, Alex Morris, Neil MacKenzie (Luke Richards 45), Sean Williams (Kristian Ramsey-Dickson 76), Nathan Walker, Jordan Nadat (Javia Roberts 76), Marco Adaggio, Jean Kalenda. Subs not used: Jack Hartopp, Jamie Newton, Liam Smith, Deqwon Ebanks.
Goals: Marco Adaggio (10), Sean Williams (36).
Redditch: Stuart Parsons, Kyle Haynes, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, George Carline, Jim Mutton, Calum Flanagan, Robbie Bunn (Jamie Ashmore 75), Jamie Osborne, Danny Dubidat, Jordan Archer (Luke Shearer 61), Jamie Molyneux. Subs not used: Brandon Mutibvu, Jack Westbrook, Josh Moreton.
Goal: Robbie Bunn (41)