Hinckley AFC manager Carl Abbott said he was immensely proud of his side’s display in the League Cup final despite defeat to Alvechurch.
Church added the League Cup to their Midland League Premier Division title with a 2-1 win at the Bescot Stadium but Hinckley competed with their opponents throughout despite Church being champions of the league above.
Had any of Javia Roberts, Paul Sullivan or Lee Butler finished first half chances then the complexion of the game may have been different but as it was, AFC ended on the losing side despite a late rally.
And Abbott was quick to express his pride in the team and the fans after the defeat. He said: “I’m immensely proud. We got here via a strange means and all I wanted us to do was come here and give a great account of ourselves to represent our division, our club and our supporters. We’ve done that.
“Alvechurch are an exceptional side, there’s no doubt about it. They’ve got huge resources in terms of fresh players to call upon but we’ve matched them and we deserved something out of the game.
Abbott said his side changed their usual approach to the game in respect of Alvechurch’s quality, and said his side were more prepared than usual to sit off their opponents.
“We corrected some flaws in our play for tonight, defensively, and that makes me a proud manager and a proud Hinckley fan.
“People who were more casual supporters may have come here and seen the Alvechurch midfield having the ball in space and looking a million dollars but we’ve set up like that. We set up to drop off and we respect their quality.
“We never give ground like that to anybody. We always fill every space on the pitch but tonight we came here and said ‘they can have the ball, we’ll sit off and make it hard to break us down.’
“We’ve given possession and space up and that’s why they’ve looked a million dollars, but when we broke on them we had no shortage of quality ourselves. We’ve done really well tonight.”
As runners-up in the League and League Cup, this constitutes AFC’s best season to date and Abbott says he can’t wait to get started next term.
“We’ll have a few weeks now to digest the season. We’ll speak to the boys, some of them are going to have offers no doubt but we’ll try and keep this group together as best as we can.
“We’ll get the likes of Fran (Francino Francis) on the coaching side and JJ Melligan back in. We’ll strengthen in one or two areas and I’m so excited for next season and what it’s going to bring.”
But above all, the former Wolves Casuals boss was just pleased that his side earned respect.
“Before a ball was kicked, for me Alvechurch were the winners of the League Cup because by rights we shouldn’t be here. Sometimes we’re an easy target because the Hinckley name carries some weight and where the previous club was, but we’re not there now.
“I just wanted to earn respect tonight and there’s no doubt we’ve done that. There’s lots of people here, lots of people in the know and word will filter out that we’re a club to be respected.”
To see the full video interview with Abbo and goalscorer Francino Francis, head over to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-kHx_Uf9p4
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