Hinckley AFC 3-3 Pelsall Villa
A second half collapse from Hinckley AFC allowed Pelsall Villa to recover from 2-0 down to earn a point in a 3-3 draw at St John’s Park.
In a perfect example of the cliched ‘game of two halves’, all looked rosy for Hinckley at half time as goals from Sam Agar and the returning Isaac Cooper gave them a two goal advantage at the break.
But two goals from Spencer Blackham and a Jordan Kent header turned the game on its head as Hinckley inexplicably allowed Pelsall to take the lead, before Greg Pearson rescued a point for Carl Abbott’s side late on.
Abbott made four changes to the Hinckley side that beat Cadbury Athletic, with Saturday’s goalscorers David Blenkinsopp and Bilal Yafai both earning their first starts for the club, alongside Agar and Cooper.
In truth, Hinckley dominated the first half and could have been out of sight by the interval. Blenkinsopp’s shot was comfortably saved by Amrick Virdee and Javia Roberts’ effort was deflected wide as Hinckley sought the early breakthrough.
The warning signs at the back were always there, though, and on 14 minutes Pelsall thought they had netted the opener when they bundled home a free kick, but the offside flag was raised.
That didn’t stop Hinckley’s strong attacking presence, and they broke the deadlock midway through the half. Neat build up play involving Marcus Jackson, Lee Butler and Roberts set up Blenkinsopp, whose shot looked to be heading wide until Agar prodded home at the far post.
Blenkinsopp and Agar continued to stretch the Pelsall defence, and just before the half hour mark Hinckley’s lead was doubled. Cooper marked his return to the side with a goal, blasting the loose ball into the top corner from 25 yards.
Then, Agar dragged narrowly wide when one on one, before the same player blazed over the bar from Roberts’ cross.
At the other end, Pearson was caught out by Blackham, but the forward could only shoot wide.
Approaching half time, Agar side footed wide of the far post and Virdee had to be at his best to deny Blenkinsopp as Hinckley looked to put the game to bed.
The second half started in much the same vein, and barely a minute had passed when Virdee’s magnificent save denied Agar after he turned a defender.
Those missed chances would come back to haunt AFC. On 49 minutes, Blackham was left in acres of space at the far post, and he coolly found the inside of the far post to halve Pelsall’s deficit.
And just two minutes later the visitors were level. Hinckley were static at the back again, and Kent was allowed a free header to restore parity.
Still having chances, Hinckley could have retaken the lead when Agar couldn’t keep his shot down, or when substitute Luke Richards powered forward but blazed over.
And with 11 minutes to go the game had turned on its head. Once again, Blackham was left in space at the far post and he made no mistake from ten yards to give his side the lead.
It looked as though that would be the decisive goal, but AFC snatched a point in stoppage time when Pearson bundled home to extend their unbeaten run to six games.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Marcus Jackson, Isaac Cooper, Mitchell Tomlinson, Greg Pearson, Lee Butler, Javia Roberts, Ryan Seal, Sam Agar, David Blenkinsopp (Marco Adaggio 61), Bilal Yafai (Luke Richards 61). Sub not used: Michael Harvey
Goals: Sam Agar (22), Isaac Cooper (29), Greg Pearson (92)
Pelsall: Amrick Virdee, John Phillips (Adam Johnson 46), Jordan Gaddu, Jordan Kent, Josh Small, Carl Morris, Dean Williams (Ahkheem Rose 46), Michael Murray, Spencer Blackham, Nathan Stone, Callum Phillips. Subs not used: Kieran Miller, Frazier Phillips.
Goals: Spencer Blackham (49, 79), Jordan Kent (51)