Heather St John’s 1-1 Hinckley AFC
It was another frustrating afternoon for Hinckley AFC as a late Mitch Woodbine equaliser snatched a point for Heather St John’s in the torrential rain at St John’s Park.
The 171 hardy souls who braved the weather saw an action packed first half, in which Sean Williams’ terrific goal gave Hinckley the lead.
But Hinckley had several chances both before and after Williams’ strike to add to the scoreline, but a combination of the wet surface and some excellent saves from Heather goalkeeper George Woodward saw Hinckley lead by just one goal at the break.
The second half was slightly quieter, but Hinckley had the better of it, and still had chances to increase their lead. However, they rued the absence of a second goal when Woodbine’s superb run ended with a shot that gave Sam Arnold no chance.
And despite having further chances to take all three points, Hinckley couldn’t find that finishing touch, and the sides came away with a point apiece.
Hinckley could have taken the lead as early as the third minute. A flowing move down the left involving Isaac Cooper, Williams and Matt Bailey ended with James Bennett-Tindall meeting Bailey’s low cross, but Woodward pulled off a close range save.
Mark Bellingham then had a long range header saved, before the same player sliced wide at the far post from a right wing cross as Hinckley dominated the opening ten minutes.
Heather then began to get a foothold in the game, and indeed had their best spell of it, when they tested Sam Arnold for the first time. George Washbourne’s free kick deflected off Bailey in the wall and looped onto Arnold’s crossbar, before the Hinckley goalkeeper tipped over a header at the far post from the resulting corner.
Phil Wheildon then chipped wide of goal after Arnold had given the ball away, before Woodbine blazed over when he got in behind the Hinckley defence.
It was midway through the first half when Hinckley took the lead. Williams had looked threatening down the left wing, and it was his piece of individual quality that broke the deadlock.
Cutting in from the left wing, he skipped past the challenge of the sliding Jordan Burrows, and drilled a shot into the far corner, giving Woodward no chance.
Immediately after, Bellingham found space in behind the Heather defence, but he dragged his shot wide of the far post, before the same player’s close range header was blocked on the line by Jordan Rushton as the first half drew to a close.
There was no let-up in the rain as the second half commenced, nor in Hinckley’s domination. Bailey’s right foot volley was turned around the post by Woodward, before Williams found himself through on goal, only for an excellent recovering tackle from Rushton to deny him.
There were only seven minutes remaining when Heather equalised. Woodbine collected the ball on halfway, and ran at the Hinckley defence. Neither Cooper nor George Williams were able to stop the winger advancing on goal and firing a shot beyond Arnold and into the corner.
Hinckley felt they should have had a second goal two minutes later, when Craig Bannister’s corner resulted in a goalmouth scramble. Heather cleared two shots, but Hinckley felt that the second was over the line and should have counted.
Hinckley’s final chance came in stoppage time: JJ Melligan’s 25 yard effort bounced awkwardly in from of Woodward, who did well to push the ball around the post for a corner.
And as soon as Heather cleared the resulting corner, the full time whistle was blown to end another frustrating afternoon for Hinckley AFC, who travel to Littleton on Saturday hoping to return to winning ways.
Heather: George Woodward, Jordan Burrows, Chris Waldrum, Harry Reece, Conor Wright, Jordan Rushton, Mitch Woodbine, Dan Chatfield, Phil Wheildon, Troy Wallen, George Washbourne. Subs not used: Matt Oliver, Jimmy Slack, Liam Baines, Johnathan Jackson-Berarey, Sam Slater.
Goal: Mitch Woodbine (83)
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Bekir Halil, Isaac Cooper, Nathan Walker, Dominic Smith, George Williams, JJ Melligan, Matt Bailey, Mark Bellingham, James Bennett-Tindall (Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell 81), Sean Williams (Craig Bannister 73). Subs not used: Richard Robinson, Ryan Taylor, Luke Richards.
Goal: Sean Williams (24)