Hinckley AFC returned to winning ways in confident style with a comfortable 3-0 success at in-form Cadbury Athletic.
After three straight defeats, Carl Abbott’s side recorded their first league points of 2017 with the win at Cadbury that saw them leapfrog their hosts in the league table.
Ryan Seal’s early penalty set AFC on their way, and that lead was doubled by Jamal Clarke on the half hour before James Williams’ second half header secured all three points.
Abbott made one change to the side that lost the FA Vase tie to Buckland Athletic last week, with Williams coming into the side in place of Darious Darkin, who dropped to the bench.
In truth, AFC were in control throughout despite a pitch that cut up heavily, and could have taken the lead less than a minute in. Sam Agar was let in down the left channel, but fired wide from a narrow angle.
Then, Seal was sent through on goal but tried to take the ball around home keeper Reece Francis, who recovered well to deny Seal a shot.
At the other end, Odane Barnes saw a scuffed effort comfortably dealt with by Haydn Whitcombe before Hinckley took the lead on 14 minutes. From that save, Whitcombe started a Hinckley break and Seal’s great cross field ball found Agar, who beat his man and tried to take around Francis before the keeper brought him down. Despite a two minute delay, Seal wasn’t to be put off and buried a good penalty out of Francis’ reach to put his side ahead.
AFC then had a series of efforts on goal in the space of 30 seconds as they sought to double their lead. Agar’s cross found James Williams at the far post, whose shot was blocked. Cadbury couldn’t clear though, and Seal and Clarke both saw goalbound efforts blocked before Lee Thomas’ low strike was diverted around the post by a defender.
Barnes was still proving Cadbury’s biggest threat, and on the half hour he danced past a challenge on the edge of the box but his strike didn’t call Whitcombe into anything other than routine work.
And on 32 minutes, Hinckley doubled their lead. Agar was the architect again as he spun his man in the left channel and played a low cross across the box, where Clarke slid home from close range.
Now with a two goal cushion, Hinckley continued their control of possession but it was the Chocolatemen who had the next chance as they tried to give themselves a foothold in the game, but Dean Lea’s 20 yard shot went wide.
Hinckley could have extended their lead further before the break through Sean Williams, but he volleyed over after good work by Thomas and Darkin.
The second half continued in a similar vein. Francis easily dealt with Agar’s shot after he cut inside, before the two Williams’ combined as Sean blazed over after James’ burst forward down the right.
Then, Sean Williams crashed an effort against the post as a goal continued to desert him, but the third goal was to come not long after when Francis didn’t deal with Seal’s corner and Williams nodded home from close range.
Not content with just three, Hinckley sought more late on and Agar, Seal and Javia Roberts all had sights of goal but couldn’t add further gloss to the scoreline.
They did, though, nearly lose their clean sheet when momentarily losing concentration late on. First, Dayle Kenny’s well struck effort flew narrowly over, before Lea diverted Craig Oldfield’s cross wide in stoppage time.
But AFC held onto their clean sheet as they moved up to fifth in the table.
Cadbury: Reece Francis, Stuart Cooke, Brett Lloyd (Craig Oldfield 73), Lewis Cosgrove (Stuart Butcher 54), Jak Walton, Tom Brain, Daniel Douse (Tory Herbert 73), Brett Fellows, Odane Barnes, Dean Kea, Dayle Kenny. Subs not used: Deon Colstock, Daniel Thompson
Hinckley: Haydn Whitcombe, James Williams, Lee Thomas, Ryan Paddock, Jamal Clarke, Andy Westwood, Lee Butler (Darious Darkin 37), Ryan Seal, Sam Agar, Sean Williams (Javia Roberts 63), JJ Melligan (Mark Williams 68). Subs not used: Mitchell Tomlinson, Leadun Dunlevy
Goals: Ryan Seal (14 pen), Jamal Clarke (32), James Williams (64)