Nuneaton Griff 0-2 Hinckley AFC
Second half goals from Dom Smith and substitute Luke Richards extended Hinckley AFC’s unbeaten run to seventeen with a 2-0 win at Nuneaton Griff.
Smith bundled home Nathan Walker’s corner to break the deadlock on the hour after an uneventful first half, but the result could have been different if Hinckley ‘keeper Sam Arnold hadn’t pulled off a magnificent save to keep his side ahead seven minutes later.
And Richards made sure of the win with seven minutes to go, slotting home after good link up play with Marco Adaggio to keep Hinckley second in the Midland League First Division table.
Carl Abbott made four changes to the side that beat Pelsall Villa last week; with Danny Kavanagh coming in for his Hinckley debut at right back. Arnold returned in goal, with Isaac Cooper and Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell also starting.
Arnold was called into action early on, palming wide a long range free kick, but the opening exchanges were quiet with both sides feeling their way into the game.
Hinckley’s first half chance came twenty minutes in, when Clarke-O’Connell’s left wing cross was glanced narrowly wide by Rob Millington.
The home side had a good chance four minutes later, but Luke Shorthouse pulled his effort wide.
Shortly before half time, Aden Moore’s free kick nearly caught Arnold out, but was well held by the AFC ‘keeper.
The second half saw more goalmouth action; indeed Hinckley nearly took the lead a minute into it. Millington’s good hold up play saw him bring in Cooper, whose cross was met by Walker. The midfielder’s header was goalbound before home ‘keeper Alex Horton palmed away at full stretch.
On 58 minutes, Clarke-O’Connell forced a corner after making good ground, from which Adaggio hit the bar with a glancing header, and Smith’s rebound from an acute angle was superbly saved.
But Hinckley had to wait only three more minutes to take the lead, as Smith bundled home Walker’s high corner.
Midway through the half, Arnold pulled off a stunning save to deny a certain goal as the ball ricocheted goalwards at pace. Minutes later, Walker’s 25 yard shot was parried wide, before the same player was teed up by Adaggio and shot narrowly wide.
Hinckley sealed their win with seven minutes to go. Superb link up play between Adaggio and Richards saw the former hold the ball up, releasing the latter, whose pace and power saw him break free of the home defence and slot home.
Carl Abbott’s side take a break from league action on Tuesday, when they take on Barlestone St Giles in the Jelson Homes Senior Cup Quarter Final at Holmes Park, Whetstone in a 7pm kick off.
Nuneaton: Alex Horton, Corey Faulconbridge, Ryan Aston, Josh Willis, Ryan Millerchip, Mark Williams, Dave Barnett, Lee Hildreth, Jake Brown, Aden Moore, Luke Shorthouse. Substitutes: Ali Abdillahi, Liam Baginskis, Chris Sockett, Adam Russell, Tom Bates.
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Danny Kavanagh, Isaac Cooper, Dom Smith, Alex Morris, Nathan Walker, Justin Nisbett (Luke Richards 65), Ross Clarke, Rob Millington (Matt Bailey 86), Marco Adaggio, Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell (Yoann Tsamas 86). Subs not used: Mitchell Tomlinson, Michael Healy
Goals: Dom Smith (61), Luke Richards (83).