Hinckley AFC 3-1 Pershore Town
A controlling second half performance saw Hinckley AFC score three times to overturn a half time deficit and beat Pershore Town 3-1 at St John’s Park.
In blustery conditions, Hinckley fell behind in the first half to Daniel Ludlow’s goal for the visitors, but responded well after the break.
Ryan Seal’s penalty levelled affairs two minutes into the second period, before Javia Roberts turned the game on its head and Luke Richards secured the victory late on.
It was a win that brought Carl Abbott’s side to within three points of fourth place as they returned to winning ways after tasting defeat on Tuesday.
Abbott made four changes to the side beaten by Pilkington XXX. Greg Pearson returned at centre half, Jean Kalenda and Marcus Jackson paired up in midfield and Luke Richards started up front.
Both sides took time to adapt to the conditions, but it was Pershore who settled first and came close to opening the scoring eleven minutes in. A spell of pressure saw Gareth Evans have a shot blocked, but Hinckley couldn’t fully clear and the ball fell to Jacob Snape. His shot deflected off Lee Thomas, Tom Cross couldn’t save and Pearson cleared off the line to prevent his side falling behind.
Hinckley rarely threatened early on, the wind catching on to most of their passes and the ball ran through to visiting ‘keeper Andy Yarnold with regularity. The one time they did threaten, Yarnold comfortably saved Roberts’ left foot shot.
And Pershore made the most of Hinckley’s pedestrian start, taking the lead eighteen minutes in. Ludlow was left in acres of space on Pershore’s right, and beat the offside trap to run in behind the defence and slot home through Cross’ legs.
In fact, the closest Hinckley came to scoring in the first half hour was through Cross. His long kick got caught on the wind, and nearly embarrased his opposite number Yarnold, who was caught out by the bounce and was relieved to see it bounce onto the roof of the net.
As the half reached its conclusion, Richards couldn’t flick home Mike Harvey’s long throw, before Jackson’s effort from range thundered off the bar.
In contrast, the second half saw Hinckley use the conditions better playing against the wind, and they had the better of the game from the re-start. Two minutes into the half, they had a chance to level. Richards latched onto Sean Williams’ through ball, and was hauled down as he tried to round Yarnold. Seal stepped up and sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the spot to equalise.
And midway through the half, Hinckley had turned the game around. Good work on the left by substitute Isaac Cooper saw him free Richards, who got to the byline and pulled a low ball into the six yard box for Roberts to bundle home.
The win was secured eight minutes from time. Cooper was involved again, releasing Seal down the right. His cross was only half-cleared, and Richards twisted his way into space on the edge of the box and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner to seal the victory.
Pershore nearly made for a nervy finish when Dom Strevens’ flick from Ashley Bloor’s cross clipped the crossbar, but Hinckley comfortably held on for the three points ahead of a game against landlords Heather St John’s on Monday.
Hinckley: Tom Cross, Mike Harvey, Lee Thomas, Mitchell Tomlinson, Greg Pearson, Jean Kalenda (Isaac Cooper 57), Sean Williams, Marcus Jackson, Luke Richards, Ryan Seal, Javia Roberts. Subs not used: Lee Butler, JJ Melligan
Goals: Ryan Seal (47 pen), Javia Roberts (69), Luke Richards (82)
Pershore: Andy Yarnold, Steve Webb, Myles Jones, James Walker, Shaun Griffiths, Dane Aldington (Ashley Bloor 76), Ollie Casey (Chris Bright 74), Brett McGilligan, Gareth Evans, Dan Ludlow, Jacob Snape (Dom Strevens 69). Subs not used: Kallum Powell, Keown Elliott.
Goal: Dan Ludlow (18)