Hinckley AFC 5-0 Heath Hayes

Grant Ryan scored four as Hinckley AFC recorded their biggest win of the season by putting five without reply past Heath Hayes at the Welfare Ground.


Unbeaten AFC were on top from the first whistle to the last, and never looked like relinquishing the lead given to them by Sam Belcher.


After that, Ryan took the leading role as he netted a penalty before half time to put his side in control, before netting three more after the break as AFC cruised to victory.


James Jepson made four changes to his Hinckley side that won at Chelmsley Town last week. Martin Hutchcox and Nkosi Mzungwana made their first starts, Matt Antcliff and Ryan coming back in.


Jepson said before the game that he felt his side were becoming more fluid, and they were exactly that from the kick off.


Just six minutes passed when the first chance came for the hosts, Ryan glancing Tom Maddison’s corner wide.


Antcliff then flashed wide and Jean Dakouri clipped the post with a 20-yarder as Hinckley started on the front foot.


Previously this season, AFC hadn’t converted their chances when on top, but Belcher ensured there was to be no repeat when he opened the scoring 18 minutes in. It was a route one goal, Adam Harrison’s goal kick flicked on well by Ryan for Belcher to run on and prod beyond the advancing Tom Burns.


And they were determined to ensure that their visitors didn’t have a sniff of a result, never taking their foot off the gas. Mzungwana flashed wide, before turning provider as a great cross found Ryan, the striker only finding the grateful arms of Burns when a yard either side of the ‘keeper would have seen a second goal.


Not that it mattered too much when Ryan did find the net on the half hour. Mzungwana was brought down by Marcus Shaw’s sliding challenge in the box, and Ryan stepped up to send Burns the wrong way from 12 yards.


Not content with that, Hinckley sought more goals and Ryan fired straight at Burns shortly afterwards.


Then, from a Heath Hayes free kick, James Moore’s fine set piece was cleared and Hinckley broke quickly, a neat move ending with Antcliff shooting straight at Burns.


Ryan then came close again, a looping header inches over Hutchcox and Mzungwana combined well down the left.


In the visitors’ first effort of the half two minutes before the break, Josh Small smashed one comfortably over, before Harrison pounced on a free kick after a slight hesitation at the back.


If Heath Hayes were to take anything from the game, they needed to use the slope to their advantage and start the second half well. They moved the powerful Shaw up front in an attempt to get back into the game, but instead Hinckley netted a third goal within 25 seconds – Ryan outmuscling Matt O’Doherty before guiding the bouncing ball into the far corner.


Shaw nearly repaid his manager’s faith by flashing one not far wide after leaving Josh Spencer on the floor, but in truth moments like that were few and far between for the visitors and Hinckley moved the ball around superbly.


A fine move involving Ryan and Antcliff ended with Belcher stroking wide, before Burns saved from Ryan and Kieran Harrison nodded wide.


Watching all that was goalkeeper Harrison, but he was called into action for the first time on the hour, a smart save denying Todd Sherwood after got in behind down the left.


That save allowed Hinckley to move upfield and net a fourth two minutes later. Mzungwana was in behind down the right, and unselfishly squared for Ryan to complete his hat-trick from close range.


And two minutes later, Ryan bagged his fourth. Mzungwana was the creator again, finding the striker who took a touch to get away from his man before firing home at the near post.


Hinckley still pressed late on in search of more goals, but found Burns in fine form. The ‘keeper made a series of late saves to prevent further goals, denying Antcliff, Richard Hanslow and Belcher in the space of five minutes.


Shaw fired off target as the visitors sought a consolation, but Burns was by far the busier ‘keeper, making more saves from Mzungwana, Antcliff, Hanslow and Belcher – while the stretching Hanslow could only divert Belcher’s cross over the bar.


It was AFC’s most convincing display of the season thus far, and sets them up nicely for the visit to Paget Rangers next week.


Hinckley: Adam Harrison, Kieran Harrison (Mahmoud Juma 72), Martin Hutchcox (Chad Timson 81), Jean Dakouri, Josh Spencer, Jason Lee, Matt Antcliff, Sam Belcher, Grant Ryan (Richard Hanslow 75), Nkosi Mzungwana, Tom Maddison. Subs not used: Josh Stredder, James Jepson


Goals: Sam Belcher (18), Grant Ryan (30, 46, 61, 64)


Heath Hayes: Tom Burns, Mark Cooper, Dan Evans, Marcus Shaw, Josh Small, Matt O’Doherty (Montel Okoro 76), Todd Sherwood, Michael Murray, Dean Williams (Jordan Harvey 71), Andrew Davies, James Moore. Sub not used: Reuben Uppal


Attendance: 180

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