Hinckley AFC 2-2 Atherstone Town
Hinckley AFC and Atherstone Town shared four goals in an entertaining A5 derby that finished in a 2-2 draw at St John’s Park on Saturday.
Before this, The Adders had only played one league game since late January, but showed no signs of rustiness as they raced into a two goal lead courtesy of Michael Bloore and Nathaniel Lewars.
That kickstarted Hinckley into life, and they displayed a spirited comeback, halving the deficit through Luke Richards before substitute JJ Melligan levelled in the second half.
Carl Abbott made just one enforced change to the side that beat Pilkington XXX on Tuesday – four-goal hero Sam Agar was unavailable, meaning David Blenkinsopp started up front.
After a cagey opening, Atherstone scored with the first chance of the game eight minutes in. Referee Adam Clenaghan spotted wrestling in the box from an Adders corner, and pointed to the spot. Bloore stepped up and placed the spot kick just out of the reach of Tom Cross in goal.
Just three minutes later, it was 2-0, Lewars capitalising on Deqwon Ebanks’ knock down to volley home.
Atherstone were completely on top of this point, and only Greg Pearson’s goal saving clearance prevented AFC going further behind.
Then, Louie O’Connor headed straight at Cross from eight yards as Atherstone continued their dominance.
But then Hinckley started to claw their way back into the game, and pulled a goal back midway through the half. Isaac Cooper’s right wing free kick to the far post was met by Richards, whose downward header found the net.
O’Connor then rattled the bar as Atherstone looked to restore their two goal lead, before, at the other end, Hinckley had strong shouts for a penalty waved away as the half reached its conclusion.
In the second half, it was Hinckley who controlled the play but couldn’t fashion the chances to break the Adders down and Cooper had to be alert to block Ebanks’ shot on the line to prevent the visitors going further ahead.
For Hinckley, Sean Williams shot wide of the far post after Ryan Seal’s cross as both sides looked for the game’s crucial fourth goal
It was to be Hinckley that scored it with fourteen minutes remaining. Williams’ cross hit an Atherstone defender, and the ball spilled to Melligan to slam home from close range.
After that, Hinckley dominated possession and had further penalty shouts turned down, but never tested Atherstone’s debutant keeper Harrison Hodson. The closest either side came to a winner was when Mitchell Tomlinson headed tamely wide, and the sides had to settle for a point apiece.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Marcus Jackson, Isaac Cooper, Mitchell Tomlinson, Greg Pearson, Lee Butler, Javia Robets, Darious Darkin, David Blenkinsopp (Sean Williams 46), Ryan Seal (JJ Melligan 69), Luke Richards (Lee Thomas 61). Sub not used: Tom Bates.
Goals: Luke Richards (23), JJ Melligan (76)
Atherstone: Harrison Hodson, Kurtis Mewies, Michael Bloore, Greg Webb, Harrison White, Christian Mullings, Louie O’Connor, Mark Latham, Alan Miller, Deqwon Ebanks, Nathaniel Lewars (Luke Tyler 74). Subs not used: Michael Bent, Chris Broadhurst, Brad Eddington.
Goals: Michael Bloore (8 pen), Nathaniel Lewars (11).