Hinckley AFC’s Polymac Packaging League Cup journey is over at the first hurdle as they fell to Heather St John’s in the landlords v tenants battle at St John’s Park.
Heather progressed to the next round thanks in part to Simeon Cobourne’s brace which put them two goals up by the half hour, but Steve Hart halved the deficit on the stroke of half time.
With the game in the balance after the break, Tom Weale’s late tap in secured progression for Heather as Hinckley’s run in the competition ended at an early stage.
Dean Thomas made four changes to his Hinckley side that beat Chelmsley Town on Saturday. Luke Edwards, Danny Edwards, Ryan Baldwin and Chad Timson all made their first starts for the club, with Richard Lavery dropping into centre back to partner Ben Rad.
In what was a very competitive game throughout with good quality at times, it was Heather who drew first blood on the quarter hour mark. A break from midfield sent Cobourne through on goal, and he coolly slipped the ball under the advancing Haydn Whitcombe.
And on the half hour, the same player doubled Heather’s advantage. Sloppy play saw Hinckley caught in possession in midfield, and after neat play on the edge of the box Cobourne was slotted through again and fired into the roof of the net from six yards.
Not to be deterred, Hinckley kept battling and got their reward a minute before half time. This time it was Heather’s turn to give the ball away on the edge of the box, and after Luke Edwards’ driving run, Hart skipped outside his man and fired into the far corner.
Hart’s reply brought AFC back into the game and ensured there was everything to play for after the break.
The second half continued in entertaining fashion, and Hinckley did threaten even though Heather managed the game well. Hinckley felt they should have had a penalty on the hour for a foul on Hart, but the referee remained unmoved.
And with Hinckley throwing men forward late on in search of their equaliser, it left space open at the back and Heather took full advantage by securing progression late on. Rad was left isolated against three Heather forwards, who worked it well between them to allow Weale to side foot into the empty net.
And that condemned Hinckley to defeat and ensured that after last year’s final, there will be no repeat this term.
Hinckley: Haydn Whitcombe, James Williams, Isaac Cooper, Ben Rad, Richard Lavery, Danny Edwards (Matt Jelfs 88), Chad Timson (Richard Munday 45), Ryan Baldwin, Kyle Minto, Steve Hart, Luke Edwards. Subs not used: Marcus Jackson, Zack Stretton
Goal: Steve Hart (45)