Heather St John’s 1-1 Hinckley

Heather St John’s regained the Simon Blyth Memorial Trophy after a penalty shoot-out win over Hinckley at St John’s Park.

The shoot-out followed a 1-1 draw in what was a closely fought contest throughout with both goals coming inside the first 15 minutes.

With a good number of Hinckley supporters making the journey up the A447 by car or bike, they gathered to watch their side on an afternoon with more April showers than July sunshine.

But the game started at a decent tempo, both sides squandering half chances before Heather took the lead when their winger latched onto a ball inside the full back and rounded Brandon Bache to slot home.

That lead, though, lasted only a minute. Hinckley equalised through a neat passing move that ended with Kai Gibbs setting up the impressive Ryan Slinn to slide home.

Slinn went close again before the break but the sides headed into the break level pegging.

And it remained that way throughout a second half that was a more typical pre-season contest, with lots of disruption for substitutions and players getting to know each other.

Tom Weale went closest for Hinckley with a free-kick while a Heather substitute had the best chance of the half but slid wide on the angle.

And so the destiny of the Simon Blyth Memorial Trophy was decided by penalties.

Weale, Slinn and Jeremie Agholor all scored for Hinckley but a trialist struck the bar and Heather were faultless from the spot, netting all five of their opportunities to lift the trophy.

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