Hinckley AFC 2-0 Lichfield City
Goals either side of half time from Luke Richards and Javia Roberts gave Hinckley AFC victory over Lichfield City to earn Carl Abbott’s side their third win in four league games.
153 people braved a wet Tuesday evening at St John’s Park to see Hinckley grab a deserved three points against a Lichfield side who created chances of their own but lacked the cutting edge to threaten Jack Hartopp in the home goal.
Carl Abbott named the same Hinckley side that beat Studley 8-2 on Saturday; the only change came on the substitutes bench as Deqwon Ebanks returned to the matchday squad.
The early stages of the game were unsettled as lots of fouls in the middle of the park broke up play regularly, but it was the visitors who had the first chance of the game four minutes in. Tony Clarke was played in on goal by Andre Francis but was denied from an acute angle by a good save from Hartopp.
Five minutes later, the same player should have opened the scoring after finding a pocket of space eight yards out, but sliced wide.
Hinckley grew into the half as it went on, and had their first chance on the quarter hour mark. Richards cut inside from the left, but saw his right foot shot parried around the post by visiting ‘keeper Sheridon Martinez.
The hosts then started to have the better of the game, and centre back Jean Kalenda came close to opening his account for the club, but his thirty yard shot cannoned off the bar with Martinez helpless.
But Lichfield continued to create chances for themselves, and after good build up play Tom Evans struck narrowly over the bar on the half hour.
The final stages of the first half belonged to Hinckley, and they took the lead with seven minutes to go before the interval. Richards and Roberts switched wings, and the former was found in space on the right hand corner of the area by Sean Williams. After taking one touch to compose himself, AFC’s captain calmly lifted the ball over the advancing Martinez to give his side the lead.
Hinckley had chances to extend their lead going into the break, but Richards scuffed his shot wide of the near post after good work from Marco Adaggio, before Williams’ cross to the far post was mis-kicked by Roberts, who should have scored.
The second half started in a similar vein as the first ended, with Hinckley dominating. First, Dom Smith glanced a free header wide from eight yards, before Richards lobbed both Martinez and his crossbar two minutes later.
Six minutes into the second period, Hinckley scored their second. Richards again found space in the inside right channel, and squared a low ball for Roberts to dive and meet the ball with his chest to score.
Richards then struck the base of the post from twelve yards after being set up by Roberts, before Williams forced a fine save from Martinez following Richards’ good work.
Lichfield’s inability to test Hartopp after good build up play continued to cost them in the second half, as Odane Barnes missed a far post header six yards out, and Evans could only offer a tame finish after dancing past the Hinckley defence with ease.
The closing stages of the game passed without major incident, and Hinckley continued their record of scoring twice in every match against Lichfield, in preparation for the FA Cup Preliminary Round tie at Bromsgrove Sporting on Saturday.
Hinckley: Jack Hartopp, Mitchell Tomlinson, Alex Morris, Dom Smith, Jean Kalenda, Neil MacKenzie, Javia Roberts (Deqwon Ebanks 80), Nathan Walker (Rico Taylor 74), Sean Williams, Marco Adaggio, Luke Richards (Justin Nisbett 74). Subs not used: Oli Basham, Jake Brown
Goals: Luke Richards (38), Javia Roberts (51)
Lichfield: Sheridon Martinez, Joe Cole (Joe Haines 66), Nick Harris (Dan Morris 51), Joe Parke (Keenan Richards 51), Kieron Parsons, Adam Wood, Andre Francis, Martin Crawford, Tony Clarke, Odane Barnes, Tom Evans. Subs not used: Kyle Minto, Connor McCarthy