Hinckley AFC 3-2 Pershore Town

Hinckley AFC overturned a 2-0 deficit to extend their unbeaten run to eight games with a 3-2 win over Pershore Town at St John’s Park.
Richard Lavery’s side faced an uphill battle midway through the first half when Charlie Ntamark and Jack Downing gave Pershore a two-goal cushion.
But Luke Richards’ goal shortly before half time gave Hinckley hope, before James Williams scored twice in four minutes to turn the game on its head and earn Hinckley the points.
It was the second time this season that Hinckley have done that against Pershore, and the third time in the unbeaten run that they have won from being two goals down.
Lavery made two changes to the side that beat Cadbury Athletic less than 48 hours earlier, with Jack Sutherland starting on the wing and Richard Munday returning at centre back.
It meant Mitchell Tomlinson played his 100th game for the club, becoming the second player to do so after Richards reached the landmark earlier in the week.
Having played so recently, you might have expected Hinckley to be weary, and for the first period of the game that’s how it looked as Pershore moved the ball well.
They controlled possession in the opening stages, and threatened just two minutes in when Ntamark and Downing combined, the latter crossing low and just out of reach of the former.
But even though they started on the back foot, Hinckley were always a threat and came close when a good move involving Josh Burniston and Sutherland ended with Steve Hart backheeling to Sutherland, who dragged wide of the far post.
Hinckley had kept clean sheets in their previous two games, but Pershore ensured they didn’t make it three on the bounce when they broke the deadlock ten minutes in. Carl O’Neill scuffed a kick straight to Ntamark, who bent into the empty net from 35 yards to give his side the lead.
As Hinckley sought an equaliser, James Jepson curled a free kick over and Sutherland had a volley saved.
But Pershore still retained the ascendancy, and doubled their lead midway through the half. Ntamark and Ben Lane were involved in a neat move which ended in Downing being given too much space in the right channel to run through and slot home a second.
Going two goals down clicked Hinckley into gear, and from then on they stopped Pershore playing the game that had hurt them in the early stages. They grabbed more control as a result and Richards called ‘keeper Toby Wilcox into action as they looked for a goal.
Scoring before half time would be crucial to Hinckley’s chances of taking something from the game, and they found their reward four minutes before the break. O’Neill’s long free kick was was touched on by Hart, and Richards did well to hold off his man before firing home from inside the box.
Hinckley applied pressure late in the half, Hart slicing wide in their best effort, but Pershore withstood it to take their lead into the break.
Whatever Lavery and Tom Cherry said at half time, it had the desired effect. Hinckley started the second half with greater intensity and threatened less than a minute into it. Tomlinson linked up with Hart who flicked to Kai Tonge, the winger driving into the box before being denied by the advancing Wilcox, who came out well to deny him.
Hinckley weren’t to be denied for much longer, and pulled level four minutes later. Jepson’s free kick was flicked on by Lavery, the ball looped into the air and Williams was allowed space inside the six yard box to wait for it to come down and head into the corner.
The home side now had the momentum and just a minute later, Hart came within inches of giving Hinckley the lead for the first time when his spectacular volley from Burniston’s pass crashed against the post.
From that, Pershore broke and Ntamark found Terence Morton unmarked inside the box. He beat O’Neill to the ball and looked odds on to score, but the recovering Burniston saved his side with a fine goal line clearance.
O’Neill saved from the resulting corner as Hinckley emerged from the incident unscathed.
That was to prove crucial two minutes later, when Hinckley scored their third. It was a goal similar to the second, Jepson’s deep free kick flicked on brilliantly by Lavery for Williams to prod home on the stretch and turn the game on its head.
The change in complexion of the game didn’t affect Hinckley’s display, and they went in search of more goals as Hart fired into the side netting, before dragging wide of the far post.
Then he set up Tonge, whose angled drive was tipped wide by Wilcox.
Pershore made changes in an attempt to claw themselves level, and the lively Alfie Bloomer forced O’Neill into a tip wide.
But that was the only time the Hinckley ‘keeper was called into any real action as Hinckley’s back four dealt superbly with what their visitors threw at them. Bloomer launched a number of long throws into the Hinckley box, but Lavery and Munday barely lost a header in a resolute defensive display.
Indeed, it was Hinckley who came closest to another goal late on, but Burniston blazed over from ten yards after being set up by Hart.
For Hinckley, it’s nine points in five days and their run of games continues with the visit of Uttoxeter Town on Tuesday.
Hinckley: Carl O’Neill, James Williams, Mitchell Tomlinson, James Jepson, Richard Munday, Richard Lavery, Kai Tonge, Josh Burniston, Luke Richards, Steve Hart, Jack Sutherland (Nick Goold 72). Subs not used: Josh Willis, Jonathan Bukasa, Marley Hamilton
Goals: Luke Richards (41), James Williams (50, 54)
Pershore: Toby Wilcox, Cameron Matthewson (Dean Waldron 87), Aaron Xavier, James Walker, Shaun Griffiths, Harry Walker, Steve Webb, Ben Lane, Charlie Ntamark, Jack Downing (Alfie Bloomer 55), Terence Morton (Cameron Williams 75)
Goals: Charlie Ntamark (10), Jack Downing (23)
Attendance: 187

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