Hinckley AFC picked up their first win of 2020 as three first half goals helped them to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Chelmsley Town.
In truth, Hinckley never looked like relinquishing the lead given to them by Ryan Ball on the quarter hour, with Lewis Commins and Luke Richards adding to the lead before the half time whistle.
And Brady Middleton added a fourth late on – with the clean sheet, a first since August, as pleasing to Courtney Belford and his staff as the four goals.
Belford made two changes to the side that lost out to Studley on Saturday, Commins and Richards both returning to the side.
And Hinckley were in control from the off, going close when Josh Benton’s double saved denied Commins and then Ball, after Middleton had set the former through on goal.
It didn’t take much longer, though, for the opener. The visitors didn’t deal with Curtis Townley’s long throw, and Ball shifted onto his right foot to allow him the space to bend one into the top corner from 20 yards.
Chelmsley briefly threatened to hit back through Kieran Fitzgerald after a breakaway down the right, while Hinckley looked for a second when Benton denied Middleton from a tight angle.
Belford has urged his side to take hold of the key moments in games, and he could have no complaints in this one. Eleven minutes before half time, AFC doubled their lead when Middleton was fouled after playing a pass, but the referee played a good advantage which allowed Commins to cut inside his man and bury coolly into the corner.
Scorer on Saturday, Middleton remained provider for the third, upended in the box after a mazy run. Richards took hold of the ball and, after Shane Benjamin’s miss at the weekend, he made no such mistake as he sent Benton the wrong way from 12 yards.
That gave Hinckley the half time comfort, and they set about increasing that lead further after the break as they continued their stronghold.
Four minutes into the half, Middleton forced a fingertip save from Benton after great work down the right by Commins. From the resulting corner, Ky Green’s header was saved and Commins saw two follow ups blocked on the line.
Then, as Hinckley looked to make their lead more comprehensive, Middleton scuffed wide from Green’s header back across goal.
The sides then exchanged chances as Kye Dryden struck wide after a Chelmsley break down the right, before Ball’s fine knock picked out Richards, who again was denied by Benton.
The only time Hinckley’s clean sheet looked in doubt was with 15 minutes to play, when Fitzgerald’s fine attempt at a 25-yard half volley clipped the bar, while Hinckley hit the woodwork themselves moments later when Halil’s effort from another Commins pull-back was inches too high.
They did, though, grab a fourth with a minute to play when Middleton beat Benton to a long pass into the inside right channel, lofting over the ‘keeper for his second in two games.
For Hinckley, four goals and a clean sheet represents a fine reaction to Saturday’s defeat and sets them up for a trip to GNP Sports on Saturday.
Hinckley: Elliott Taylor, Curtis Townley, Mikkel Hirst, Reece Giles, Ky Green (George Brindley 71), Ben Kendrick, Lewis Commins, Ryan Ball (Jake Brown 86), Luke Richards (Gabe Webster 89), Bekir Halil, Brady Middleton. Subs not used: Sam Reuben, Courtney Belford
Goals: Ryan Ball (16), Lewis Commins (34), Luke Richards (45 pen), Brady Middleton (89)
Chelmsley: Josh Benton, Danny Brain (Harvey Woodman-Booth 77), John Daly, Steve Sadler, Sam Sadler (Corey Solomon 69), Nicholas Ellis, Liam Norris, Alex Knight, Kieran Fitzgerald, Kye Dryden, Danny Charlton (Kye Shewell 84). Subs not used: Dylan Britton, Rahiem Faulder