AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-2 Hinckley AFC
Hinckley AFC lost out on penalties as AFC Rushden and Diamonds triumphed in the Supporters Direct Shield.
Diamonds converted all four of their penalty kicks, Hinckley just the two, as the home side took the shield at the second attempt after last year’s defeat to 1874 Northwich.
Matt Finlay was the home side’s hero – he saved spot kicks from Bekir Halil and Justin Nisbett to ensure that the trophy went to Northamptonshire.
Rushden took an early lead through Matt Gearing, when he converted Russell Dunkley’s knock down from Greg Ling’s deep cross after eight minutes.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as midway through the half, Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell’s shot was deflected through a crowd of players and beyond home goalkeeper Matt Finlay.
The home side retook the lead on the stroke of half time, when Gearing’s cross found Dunkley, who looped a header over Hinckley keeper Ben Astley.
Astley had taken a nasty knock early on, and despite playing through to half time, he had to be substituted at the interval.
With no substitute goalkeeper named, it was full back Greg Webb who donned the gloves in the second half.
Not wanting to risk further damage, Hinckley understandably sat back slightly during the second half.
But with time running out, Nisbett converted from an acute angle at the far post to send the game into penalties.
Hinckley: Ben Astley, Lewis Gorle, Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell, Bekir Halil, Richard Robinson, George Williams, JJ Melligan, Matt Bailey, Luke Richards, Craig Bannister, Nathan Walker. Substitutes: Adrian Jones, Chris Sockett, Avun Jephcott, Mark Bellingham, Justin Nisbett, Ray Facey, Greg Webb