Atherstone Town 0-2 Hinckley AFC
Goals either side of half time from Sean Williams and Nathan Walker earned Hinckley AFC a 2-0 win over Atherstone Town at Sheepy Road.
On a wet afternoon in Warwickshire, football was never going to be easy on a pitch that cut up severely as the match wore on.
But Carl Abbott’s side proved they have the stomach for a battle and after they went in at half time a goal to the good courtesy of Williams, Walker’s second half strike from the edge of the box secured the points.
Abbott made four changes to the side that beat Continental Star on Tuesday; three of them in defence. Mitchell Tomlinson and Alex Morris both returned to the side while new loan signing Alex Penny was handed a debut. JJ Melligan was the other change, making his first appearance since re-signing.
Kicking down the slope in the first half, it was the Adders who had the first chance: Alan Miller heading Michael Bloore’s cross narrowly wide.
But it was Hinckley who took the lead shortly after. Williams capitalised on a slip from Atherstone’s Harrison White and calmly placed the ball beyond the reach of Phil Smith in the home goal.
On his return to a Hinckley shirt, Melligan twice forced Smith into action as the half reached its conclusion, before, at the other end, Ashley Gray’s powerful header was straight at Tom Cross.
In truth, Hinckley dominated after half time and should have doubled their lead within a minute of the restart. However, with Smith stranded, Luke Richards headed wide of the far post.
Not to be deterred by that miss, Richards was involved when Hinckley did double their lead on the hour mark. He played a clever one-two with Walker, allowing the midfielder space to fire home his tenth goal for the club from the edge of the area.
As Atherstone looked to claw their way back into the game, Cross had to be at his best to deny Mark Latham, tipping his header over the bar at full stretch.
The former AFC Rushden and Diamonds stopper then denied Latham again late on to preserve his clean sheet.
Melligan could have marked his return to the side with a goal in stoppage time, but blazed over with only Smith to beat.
But that would only have added gloss to the scoreline on a day where Hinckley’s battling qualities shone through in the rain. They will have to be up for the battle again when Littleton visit St John’s Park on Tuesday evening.
Atherstone: Phil Smith, Kurtis Mewies, Lee Waters, Ashley Gray, Harrison White, Liam Bailey, Christian Mullins (Jamie Abbott), Michael Bloore, Alan Miller, Luke Tyler, Mark Latham (Louie O’Connor). Subs not used: Toby Knight, Ryan Ball, David Boal.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Mitchell Tomlinson, Liam Smith, Alex Penny (Oli Basham 86), Alex Morris, Nathan Walker (Ray Facey 85), Marcus Jackson, JJ Melligan, Sean Williams, Luke Richards, Rico Taylor (Kristian Ramsey-Dickson 71). Subs not used: Sam Arnold, Elikem Amenku.
Goals: Sean Williams (16), Nathan Walker (61)