Southam United 0-3 Hinckley AFC
Hinckley AFC’s first league win is in the bag as they kicked off their inaugural league campaign with a 3-0 victory at Southam United.
Second half goals from Luke Richards, JJ Melligan and new signing Mark Bellingham ensured that Carl Abbott’s side began their Midland League First Division campaign by collecting three points, after home goalkeeper Matt Oliver was sent off just before the interval.
Hinckley looked threatening early on, but the hosts defended resolutely. Luke Richards and Justin Nisbett had early chances, but Myles Jones and Matty Hunt respectively denied them as Southam held their own.
The game changed after 43 minutes, however, when Oliver handled outside his area. The home keeper was shown the red card by referee Tom Reeves, meaning that forward Louis Bridges donned the gloves for the rest of the match.
Parts of the second period were played during a torrential downpour, but despite this Hinckley made the most of their numerical advantage to take the lead shortly after the interval.
It was the local boy and former Hinckley United striker Richards who scored the club’s first league goal. He did well to hold off a defender, and finished with a precise shot from just inside the area.
Nathan Walker then struck a free kick just wide of Bridges’ goal, before Hinckley doubled their lead midway through the half. Justin Nisbett’s cut back found captain JJ Melligan, who could hardly miss from inside the six yard box.
Mark Bellingham only signed for Hinckley during the week, but he added a third after coming on from the substitute’s bench late on, glancing a header home from JJ Melligan’s left wing corner.
All in all, it was a very satisfying day for everyone involved with Hinckley AFC.
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Greg Webb, Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell (Ray Facey 63), Bekir Halil, Richard Robinson, George Williams (John Clapp 55), JJ Melligan, Matt Bailey, Luke Richards (Mark Bellingham 68), Justin Nisbett, Nathan Walker. Subs not used: Adrian Jones, Avun Jephcott
Southam: Matt Oliver, Josh Smith, Jamie Smith, Myles Jones, Matt Hunt, Jon Grandfield (Tom Cooper 79), Andy Yeates, Louis Bridges, Oli Manoochehri, Chris Bright (Joe Williams 79), Tunde Ajbade (Steve Thomas 67). Subs not used: Michael Clough, Robbie Stephens