Hinckley AFC 3-4 Heath Hayes
A second half capitulation from Hinckley AFC saw them throw away a three goal lead to taste late defeat against Heath Hayes at St John’s Park.
All looked rosy for Carl Abbott’s side at half time as Ryan Seal, Luke Richards and Marco Adaggio put them three goals to the good at the interval.
But nobody could have seen the collapse that was to follow as Heath Hayes’ Daniel Scragg scored four times to capitalise on Hinckley’s shambolic defending and codemn them to their first home defeat since August.
Hinckley made one change to the side that beat Pershore Town last weekend, and that saw Jamie Newton come in for Alex Morris with Jean Kalenda moving into central defence to partner Kristian Ramsey-Dickson.
Going into the match, Heath Hayes had the joint best defence in the league, and they showed why in the opening quarter of an hour, defending stubbornly and not allowing Hinckley to break them down.
At the other end, Hinckley ‘keeper Tom Cross had to be alert to prevent Chris Holland opening the scoring for the visitors, pushing his effort round the post.
It was Hinckley who took the lead on the quarter hour mark. Adaggio beat the offside trap to latch on to Ramsey-Dickson’s pass, and unselfishly squared for Seal to side-foot home.
Hinckley had now broken down the visitors’ defensive barrier, and they took the game by the scruff of the neck. Fifteen minutes later, Seal turned from scorer to provider as he set up Richards to slot inside the far post.
The home side extended their lead just two minutes later to put themselves in a position of control in the game. Seal’s fine through ball found Adaggio, before the forward was brought down inside the box. Adaggio dusted himself down and slammed home the resulting penalty.
At this stage, Hinckley were assertive and Adaggio nearly added a fourth shortly before half time when his clever header with back to goal drifted just over.
Despite holding their position of comfort and dominance at the break, Hinckley never looked comfortable after it and their lead was cut midway through the second half. Hinckley’s defence split inviting Scragg to take a shot, and the Heath Hayes forward obliged, finding the net from range.
Hinckley’s ball retention was getting no better, and with seven minutes to go the visitors gave themselves a real chance of taking something from the game. Scragg converted from the penalty spot after Kalenda’s foul to ensure a nervy finale.
Then, Hinckley substitute Neil MacKenzie struck the post as AFC ventured forward, but they were denied all three points two minutes from time. Scragg secured his hat-trick when his shot took a wicked deflection that gave Cross no chance.
The final sucker punch for Hinckley was to come in stoppage time. Elikem Amenku was caught in possession, and Scragg took full advantage to score his and Heath Hayes’ fourth goal of the afternoon.
That was a microcosm of Hinckley’s second half, in which their individual and collective mistakes gifted Heath Hayes the chance to take all three points back to Staffordshire.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Jamie Newton, Rico Taylor, Jean Kalenda, Kristian Ramsey-Dickson, Nathan Walker (Elikem Amenku 67), Sean Williams (Justin Nisbett 67), Darious Darkin (Neil MacKenzie 58), Ryan Seal, Marco Adaggio, Luke Richards. Subs not used: Alex Morris, Sam Arnold.
Goals: Ryan Seal (14), Luke Richards (30), Marco Adaggio (32 pen)
Heath Hayes: Mark Wiggins, Harry Phillips, John Littler, Steven Yates, Alex Scott, Jack Arrowsmith, Jack Partridge, Ryan Burns, Chris Holland, Daniel Scragg, Joe Geldart. Substitutes: Tom Essex, Ryan Kimberley, Matt Bickley.
Goals: Daniel Scragg (67, 83 pen, 88, 90)