Stafford Town 3-4 Hinckley AFC
Hinckley AFC emerged victorious from an end to end seven goal thriller against Stafford Town to extend their unbeaten league run to eight games.
Marco Adaggio and Luke Richards gave Hinckley a two goal lead in the first half, but Craig Hulme pulled a goal back for the home side shortly before the interval.
Adaggio scored again for Hinckley after the break, but Stafford responded well, and despite Sam Arnold saving a penalty, they halved the deficit through Nathan Cooper before levelling thanks to Ashley Phillips.
Just four minutes later, though, and Hinckley had regained the lead through JJ Melligan’s penalty, and that completed the scoring to give Hinckley another three points.
Melligan spent the afternoon at right back in place of Mitchell Tomlinson, while Dominic Smith returned at the heart of the defence to partner Alex Morris. Richards and Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell also came back into the side.
And the two returning wingers almost combined to give Hinckley the lead six minutes in. Good work from Clarke-O’Connell down the right saw him beat Richard Greaves, and cross low across the face of goal where the ball was inches away from being converted by Richards.
Three minutes later, though, and Hinckley did take the lead when Adaggio flicked Nathan Walker’s free kick into the roof of the net at the near post.
On 24 minutes, Hinckley doubled their lead. A superb passing move involving Adaggio and Ross Clarke ended with Richards sliding Clarke’s delightful through ball under the advancing Richard Stone for his tenth goal of the season.
After this, Stafford came into the game, and after blazing over from a free kick, they pulled a goal back when Hulme stabbed home at the near post to go into the interval at 2-1.
Hinckley restored their two goal lead shortly after the break, when Adaggio scored their 50th league goal of the season. Richards went through one on one, and after his shot was parried by Stone, Adaggio applied the close range finish from the rebound.
The game sparked into life after this, and four minutes later the hosts had a chance to halve the deficit once more. After Richards’ foul in the box, Michael Meszaros’ spot kick was comfortably saved by Arnold, who also thwarted the same player from the rebound.
Mezsaros was substituted immediately afterwards, and his replacement Cooper found the net five minutes after coming on when his speculative long range strike flew into the top corner.
The home side then levelled just after the hour through a fine strike from Phillips, who found the corner after a flowing move down the left.
A mad twenty minutes, which saw four goals and two penalties, ended midway through the half when Melligan converted from the spot after Clarke-O’Connell was tripped in the box by Ben Skelton.
After that, Stafford rarely threatened the Hinckley goal despite having more possession, and Carl Abbott’s side hung on for their fourth win on the bounce.
Stafford: Richard Stone, James Cresswell, Richard Greaves, Darryll Jones, Ben Skelton, Grant Wirwood, Ashley Phillips (Steve Bennett 77), Michael Williams (Jud Ellis 54), Zak Horrobin, Graig Hulme, Michael Mezsaros (Nathan Cooper 54). Subs not used: Tom Green, James Price
Goals: Craig Hulme (36), Nathan Cooper (58), Ashley Phillips (62).
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, JJ Melligan, Isaac Cooper, Dominic Smith, Alex Morris, Avun Jephcott (Matt Gardner 59), Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell (Michael Healy 67), Nathan Walker, Marco Adaggio, Ross Clarke, Luke Richards (Justin Nisbett 60). Subs not used: Jack Hartopp, Robbie Millington.
Goals: Marco Adaggio (9 & 49), Luke Richards (24), JJ Melligan (66 pen).