Heath Hayes 2-1 Hinckley AFC
Hinckley AFC slipped to a sixth league defeat of the season as Heath Hayes recorded a 2-1 victory at the Coppice Colliery Ground on Tuesday evening.
The win for the hosts meant they completed the double over Carl Abbott’s side, and in the process moved five points above them in the Midland League Division One table.
Daniel Scragg’s opener was countered by Greg Pearson’s equaliser for Hinckley, but parity lasted only a matter of minutes as Joe Hartshorne scored what proved to be the decisive goal that condemned Hinckley to defeat.
With unavailability hitting hard, Abbott could only name two substitutes and handed debuts to new signings Lee Butler and Mike Harvey.
After a cagey start, the hosts took the lead shortly before the half hour mark. With Alex Penny receiving treatment, Hinckley were down to ten men momentarily and Heath Hayes took full advantage. Neat build up play down the right led to a fizzing cross, which Scragg neatly tucked into the corner.
That sparked an intense ten minutes, and it was not long after that Pearson levelled. The former Burton Albion striker did well to remain on his feet after appearing to be fouled, and was rewarded when his cool finish found the back of the net.
Just two minutes later, though, Heath Hayes restored their lead. Hinckley were the architects of their own downfall, missing the chance to clear and Hartshorne poked the ball through a defender’s legs to find the bottom corner.
Looking to turn the game on its head, Hinckley started the second half brightly but couldn’t force a meaningful save from the home ‘keeper despite having three consecutive corners.
The closest they came was when Marco Adaggio found himself through one on one but was denied by a fine last ditch challenge, and as the half wore on they couldn’t fashion the chances to break down a resolute home defence.
Heath Hayes threatened on the break, and should have extended their lead, but somehow headed over the bar with the goal gaping.
Hinckley’s one big opportunity came in stoppage time, but Harvey couldn’t mark his first appearance with a goal, failing to connect properly with a free header from six yards.
That meant Heath Hayes held out for their seventh league win in eight games, while the defeat leaves Hinckley with a battle on their hands to secure FA Cup qualification for next season.
Hinckley: Sam Arnold, Marcus Jackson, Lee Thomas, Alex Penny (Kristian Ramsey-Dickson 29), Mike Harvey, Darious Darkin, Lee Butler, Tom Bates, Greg Pearson, Marco Adaggio, Ryan Seal (Mitchell Tomlinson 73)
Goal: Greg Pearson (30)