Hinckley AFC 3-2 Bolehall Swifts
It’s often said that good teams win games without being at their best, and Hinckley AFC did exactly that with a 3-2 victory over Bolehall Swifts on Tuesday evening.
AFC were laboured for large spells of the game, but just did enough to overcome a spirited Bolehall side who could easily have come away with a point.
Javia Roberts gave Hinckley a half time lead, which was extended to 3-1 when Luke Richards and Ryan Seal replied to Benn Minshull’s leveller.
Minshull scored again to give Hinckley a scare late on, but Carl Abbott’s side held out to record back-to-back home wins.
Abbott made four changes from the side that drew with Coventry United on Saturday. Alex Penny failed to recover from his hamstring injury, while Sean Williams, Darious Darkin and Sam Agar also made way. Mike Harvey, Tom Bates, Marcus Jackson and Richards all returned.
The opening quarter of an hour was played at a good tempo, but the bobbly St John’s Park surface didn’t help the quality of the game. Richards could have given Hinckley the lead with the first real chance, but after intercepting a back pass he found himself denied by the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Tom Cross had to be alert to take the sting out of Minshull’s fierce drive as the visitors grew in confidence.
It wasn’t until shortly before the half hour mark that the opening goal came to liven the game up. Bates’ pinpoint pass freed Roberts, who wasn’t to be denied when one on one with the goalkeeper, the winger slotting home his tenth Hinckley goal.
Shortly afterwards, a goalmouth scramble nearly led to a second, before Richards saw his far post header cleared off the line as Hinckley sought to extend their lead.
In the second half, though, it was Bolehall who were the more urgent and in control. They nearly levelled three minutes into it, but Lee Thomas superbly cleared Adam Clarke’s shot off the line.
Still threatening, though, Hinckley came close to doubling their advantage when Lee Butler’s 25 yard free kick was tipped around the post.
Midway through the half, Minshull, Bolehall’s biggest threat throughout the night, forced Cross into a smart save, and from the resulting corner a goalmouth scramble saw Gavin Allers strike the post.
An equaliser was on the cards, and it arrived three minutes later when Minshull’s fine strike from a 25 yard free kick found the corner.
Parity lasted only three minutes though, as Hinckley restored their advantage. A good response from AFC saw Richards cut inside from the left and fire a shot that was too powerful for the ‘keeper to keep out.
And three minutes later, it was 3-1 as Hinckley looked to put the game beyond doubt. Substitute Marco Adaggio was felled in the box, and Seal stepped up to convert from the spot.
But Bolehall continued to press, and pulled one back five minutes from time. Hinckley’s attempted offside trap didn’t work, and Minshull found himself in acres of space to calmly loft the ball home.
But after that, the visitors didn’t threaten Cross’ goal and Hinckley comfortably held out for all three points.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Mitchell Tomlinson, Lee Thomas (Marco Adaggio 64), Mike Harvey, Greg Pearson, Lee Butler, Marcus Jackson, Tom Bates (Sean Williams 46), Ryan Seal, Luke Richards, Javia Roberts (David Blenkinsopp 64). Sub not used: Jordan Rushton
Goals: Javia Roberts (27), Luke Richards (72), Ryan Seal (75 pen)