After Saturday’s goal fest against Gedling, Hinckley AFC had to show qualities of a different kind as they battled to a hard earned point against an impressive Lutterworth Athletic.
AFC’s task was made harder after Ben Kendrick’s dismissal early in the second half, but the ten men showed great determination and resolve to keep a clean sheet and preserve a point.
The evening had a bizarre start as kick off was delayed by seven minutes. Hinckley’s debutant Joel Heely had to remove a nose piercing, which couldn’t be done, so he swapped places with Chris Lloyd who started the game.
The visitors took the game to their hosts from the off. Barely a minute had been played when a surging run from Barnes Gladman ended with a powerful shot that was well saved by Matt Hill. It was the first action of a faultless display from Hinckley’s keeper.
Moments later he pushed another effort from Gladman aside at his near post as the home side struggled to put any meaningful attacks together with the visitors keeping the ball well.
AFC briefly threatened towards the end of the half, but Isa Abraham fired wide at the end of a neat move, and Courtney Belford made a double change at half time in an attempt to change the tempo of the game.
Piercing issues resolved, Heely made a belated debut as one of those changes and Hinckley should have gone in front shortly after the break. Lewis Rankin was clean through on goal but opted to try and chip Max Harbin, got it all wrong and blazed over.
Nine minutes into the second half came the game’s major talking point. Kendrick fouled the impressive Marley Spencer on the edge of the area, the referee deemed him to be the last man and showed the defender a red card.
It meant another reorganisation for Hinckley as Lutterworth sensed their chance and got on top of the game. Charles Butler struck the base of a post and Sam Burton had a couple of chances, shooting narrowly across the face of goal before Hill was alert to push away his shot the the near post.
Though essentially fighting a defensive rearguard, Hinckley had a couple of chances of their own. Heely raced into the box only to be denied by the legs of Harbin and Abraham’s trickery created a chance that Harbin grabbed at the second attempt.
That proved to be his final act as he limped out of the action clutching his hamstring, leaving Hinckley to play the closing minutes with only nine men. Lutterworth thought they’d snatched it in time added on when they found the back of the net, but a flag from the referees assistant cut short their celebrations and the points were shared.
Hinckley: Matt Hill, Callum Martin (Lewis Padmore 45), Mikkel Hirst, Ben Whitehead, Brandon Hallmark, Ben Kendrick, Lewis Rankin (Ryan Murphy 56), Tom Weale, Chris Lloyd (Joel Heely 45), Jack Edwards, Isa Abraham. Sub not used: Adam Barber
Lutterworth: Max Harbin, Will Blockley, Lewis McLean, Charles Butler (Thabo Makombe 85), Cioyo Miller, Oli Bradshaw, Marley Spencer, Jack Astill, Barnes Gladman, Charlie Adcock (Callum Harris 61), Sam Burton (Kyran Taylor 75). Subs not used: Jake Gardner, Liam Storer