Hinckley AFC 5-1 Southam United
If a certain well known beer did inaugural seasons, then 2014-15 from Hinckley AFC wouldn’t be far off the mark.
Carl Abbott’s side needed to win by four clear goals to wrap up third place in the Midland League First Division, and they did so in style by beating Southam United 5-1 in a game they dominated from start to finish.
Early goals from Justin Nisbett and Dom Smith helped Hinckley on their way, but Southam pegged them back through Louis Bridges’ penalty. However, Marco Adaggio’s brace and a late goal from JJ Melligan ensured Hinckley pipped Bolehall Swifts to third place.
Abbott made three changes to the side that were defeated by Bardon Hill in Tuesday’s Jelson Homes Senior Cup Final – Isaac Cooper, Rob Millington and Justin Nisbett all coming in to the side.
Two of the returnees, Millington and Nisbett, had an instant impact as it took Hinckley less than five minutes to open the scoring. Millington’s magnificent cross-field pass found Nisbett, whose deflected shot beat Tom Cross in the Southam goal.
The same duo continued to cause Southam problems, and shortly afterwards Nisbett’s strike was held by Cross as he was denied a second.
But Hinckley didn’t have to wait much longer for the second goal. Nathan Walker took his corner short to Melligan, whose cross was powerfully headed home by Smith.
Then, Cooper’s header from Nisbett’s cross drifted narrowly wide, before Southam were offered a lifeline on 38 minutes. Tracking back, Nisbett fouled Lee Thomas in the box, and Bridges stepped up to send Sam Arnold the wrong way from the spot.
Not to be deterred, Hinckley restored their two goal lead before half time thanks to Adaggio’s moment of quality. The former AFC Telford man turned on the spot and finished from eighteen yards in a goal that would have graced any level.
AFC kept up the pressure at the start of the second half, and added to their lead two minutes after the break. Nisbett drove at the Southam defence at pace, and crossed for Adaggio to dispatch his second.
Arnold was then called into action to save from Southam substitute Myles Jones, but Hinckley resumed their dominance when Walker was denied from eighteen yards.
With nine minutes to go, Hinckley scored the goal that secured third place. Millington’s shot fell to Melligan, who took the ball around Cross and stabbed home.
Arnold made one final save at full stretch to preserve Hinckley’s lead, and although Adaggio could have added a sixth, and bagged the matchball, he could only pull his effort wide.
AFC’s 23rd league win of the campaign wrapped up a fine nine months for Abbott’s side, who will recharge the batteries before going again in 2015-16.
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Danny Kavanagh, Isaac Cooper, Dom Smith, Alex Morris, Nathan Walker (Oli Basham 85), JJ Melligan, Avun Jephcott (Ross Clarke 77), Rob Millington, Marco Adaggio, Justin Nisbett (Tyrone Clarke-O’Connell 71). Subs not used: Jack Hartopp, Mitchell Tomlinson.
Goals: Justin Nisbett (4), Dom Smith (14), Marco Adaggio (43, 47), JJ Melligan (81).
Southam: Tom Cross, Jack Brighton, Lee Thomas, Quentin Townsend, Matty Hunt, Kevin Spencer, James Keller (Chris Bright 55), Adam Guest, Suki Nijjar (Tunde Ajibade 62), Louis Bridges, Max Crisp (Myles Jones 66).