Hinckley AFC 0-1 Studley

Hinckley AFC 0-1 Studley

An eventful first half saw a goal and three red cards as nine man Hinckley AFC fell to a 1-0 defeat against the ten men of Studley.

The match was at 0-0 midway through the first half when Hinckley’s Nathan Walker and John Clapp, along with Studley’s Josh McKenzie, were dismissed for their part in a brawl that held up play for five minutes.

And Studley made their man advantage count almost immediately when former Hinckley forward Matt Bailey scored the game’s only goal just after the half hour.

But Hinckley’s effort with nine men was admirable, and they had the better of the second half without really testing visiting ‘keeper Shaun Edwards.

Hinckley made three changes to the side that were beaten at Racing Club Warwick last weekend, with Ray Facey, Mark Bellingham and Justin Nisbett returning to the starting line up.

And Carl Abbott’s side started brightly in an entertaining, end to end first half,  nearly opening the scoring after just 44 seconds. Bekir Halil’s cross from the right was flicked on to Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell at the far post, but the ball didn’t sit up as the winger would have liked, and his shot clipped the top of the crossbar.

After five minutes, Nisbett’s weaving run saw him beat James Husband, but he dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.

Clarke-O’Connell was proving a threat down the left wing, and after beating Adam Guest and Brett Mander, his low ball into the box ran between Bellingham and JJ Melligan as Hinckley pressed for an early goal that has been eluding them in recent weeks.

Studley then began to come into the game, and their first opportunity fell to Bailey. On his return to St John’s Park, he saw his first chance of the day go begging when Sam Arnold saved his one on one.

A minute later, Bellingham found himself through on goal, but saw Edwards comfortably stop his side footed effort.

The visitors then had their best spell of the game on the quarter hour mark. First, McKenzie’s curling effort with the outside of his foot was tipped around the post, before Darious Darkin struck wide after a free flowing move.

Arnold then thwarted Bailey again when the striker found space in the box, before the game changed after 25 minutes.

Walker’s foul on McKenzie sparked a reaction from the Studley forward, which provoked a melee in the middle of the park. Walker and McKenzie were both shown straight red cards for their part in the incident, while Clapp, booked earlier on in the game, was shown a second yellow card, followed by the red.

After a five minute delay, Studley took the lead after 32 minutes as Hinckley regrouped. Rico Taylor’s left wing cross found Bailey, who could barely miss from a yard out.

Shortly before half time, Hinckley went close to scoring again, but Bellingham’s free kick was deflected onto the inside of the post and bounced out.

If the first half was an entertaining spectacle, the second half was far from it as Studley were content to sit on their goal advantage and play with nine men behind the ball.

And for all their possession, Hinckley couldn’t break them down and they rarely tested Edwards after the interval.

On the hour, Nisbett blazed over after being found at the far post before, worryingly for Hinckley, Clarke-O’Connell was stretchered off after 73 minutes with a knee injury.

Arnold’s only two saves of the second half came within seconds of each other: he could only parry Darkin’s long range effort, but did well to prevent Bailey from adding a second on the rebound.

As Hinckley threw men forward in the dying moments, desperate for an equaliser, Melligan’s free kick went narrowly over, before substitute Avun Jephcott could only shoot straight at Edwards after being teed up by James Bennett-Tindall.

Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Bekir Halil, Ray Facey, Dominic Smith, John Clapp, Asa Wright (Avun Jephcott 59), JJ Melligan, Nathan Walker, Mark Bellingham (Alex Morris 46), Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell (James Bennett-Tindall 73), Justin Nisbett. Subs not used: Mitchell Tomlinson, Dominic Oliver.

Studley: Shaun Edwards, Brett Mander, James Husband, Adam Guest, Toby Checketts, Steffano Abonandi (Keith Rostrill 78), Michael Murray, Darious Darkin, Josh McKenzie, Matt Bailey, Rico Taylor. Subs not used: Jarryl Hylton, Richard Taylor.

Goal: Matt Bailey (32)

Attendance: 137