A first half brace from Isaac Cooper was enough to give Hinckley AFC a 2-0 win over Pelsall Villa at The Bush Ground on Saturday.
In a thoroughly professional Hinckley performance, the left winger scored on the quarter hour and half hour marks to give Carl Abbott’s side a two goal advantage at the break.
And Hinckley restricted their hosts to only half chances after the interval, as Tom Cross was untroubled in keeping his first away league clean sheet since November.
In spite of six changes to their starting line up, Hinckley started brightly. Sam Agar dragged wide from fifteen yards before Hinckley broke the deadlock fifteen minutes in. Pelsall could only half-clear Lee Butler’s free kick, and Cooper’s 20 yard strike was fumbled over the line by home ‘keeper Amrick Virdee.
Cooper only scored one goal for the club in his first spell last season, but he netted his second of the game and third in three weeks against Pelsall on 29 minutes. Peeling off his marker, he was found in space by Butler’s through ball and drilled into the far corner to double the lead.
This was familiar territory for Hinckley, who surrendered a similar lead against Pelsall earlier this month, but that never looked like happening this time. Sean Williams saw a low shot well saved and JJ Melligan struck wide of the far post as Hinckley looked to further their advantage.
Pelsall’s first real sight of goal came five minutes before half time, when Callum Phillips was denied by Harvey’s recovering tackle.
The second half saw limited goalmouth action as Hinckley kept possession well playing up the slope but couldn’t fashion too many clear cut chances.
Cooper had a sight of taking the matchball home when he headed Agar’s cross wide, before Agar himself turned past Luke Holmes but couldn’t squeeze the ball home from an acute angle.
Then, Sean Williams headed Cooper’s deep free kick into the side netting as Hinckley continued to search for a third goal to put the game beyond doubt.
Pelsall’s only real openings came late on, when Dean Williams dragged wide of the near post, before Phillips couldn’t capitalise on a slight hesitation between Mike Harvey and Cross, curling high and wide.
And although Hinckley couldn’t add more gloss to the scoreline, they will be delighted at the professional nature of their second half performance that extends their unbeaten run to nine.
Pelsall: Amrick Virdee, Luke Holmes, Adam Johnson, Michael Murray, Ashley Lawley, Carl Morris, Kearan Noorami (Matty Burns 86), James Lewis, Callum Phillips, Dean Williams, Josh McFarlane (Fraser Phillips 61). Subs not used: John Phillips, Ben Storey, Jordan Gaddu,.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Mitchell Tomlinson, Lee Thomas, Mike Harvey, Alex Penny, Lee Butler (Javia Roberts 70), Sean Williams, Darious Darkin, Sam Agar, JJ Melligan, Isaac Cooper (Luke Richards 77). Subs not used: Marcus Jackson, Ryan Seal.
Goals: Isaac Cooper (15, 29)