Hinckley AFC 3-2 Stapenhill

Hinckley AFC earned their first win of the campaign thanks to a fabulous comeback from 2-0 down against Stapenhill in the sweltering heat at Kirkby Road.

Hinckley went two down early on against a side who, like them, went down in a play-off final last season.

But they showed great character in drawing level before the break with Lewis Collins’ second half winner completing the revival.

Despite the intense heat, AFC were caught cold as they found themselves two down inside the opening seven minutes. The first came on three minutes, Cameron Steele did well to make ground on the left flank before pulling the ball back for Zakim Evans to finish.

And moments later it was two and this was all George Teeney’s work. The big striker made ground through the inside left channel before curling a shot beyond Brandon Bache inside the far post.

To their credit, Hinckley’s heads didn’t drop, they started to pass the ball well and got their reward on 17 minutes. After a neat build up, Jeremie Agholor’s clever pass found Lewis Rankin who drove home a crisp finish.

There was no let up in the tempo of the game as both sides hit the woodwork. Bache did well to push Steele’s shot onto a post before Rankin’s shot hit the bar after a clever exchange of passes with Collins.

Hinckley ended the half well and drew level three minutes before the break. A corner was headed clear to Harry Walker-Donovan on the edge of the area who showed great technique in waiting patiently for the dropping ball to volley home with precision.

There were still chances aplenty after the break as both sides went out for the win. Bache made a couple of smart saves as Stapenhill threatened and a flowing passing move from the back for Hinckley ended with Collins shooting over.

The decisive moment came with twenty minutes remaining. Agholor was again the creator, dispossessing his man on the edge of the visitors area and feeding Collins, who smashed his first shot against the bar, before making no mistake with the rebound.

As the game became stretched, the tireless Collins twice came close to extending the lead, a shot was saved at full stretch by Paul Hollis before his header was cleared off the line.

But it was a great win for Hinckley from an excellent game and players from both sides deserve enormous credit for providing great entertainment in such searing heat.

Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Tarique Hunter (Perri McCullough 35 {Ryan Murphy 60}), Jeremie Agholor, Ben Newport, Luke Wilson, Adam Barber, Harry Walker-Donovan, Lewis Collins, Emile Beckford (Kai Gibbs 56), Lewis Rankin (Alex Davies 82), Fortune Sibanda (Marley Sweenie-Rowe 70).

Goals: Lewis Rankin (17), Harry Walker-Donovan (43), Lewis Collins (70).

Stapenhill: Paul Hollis, James Frost, Lewis Campbell, Tom Hammerton (Sam Mountain 82), Harry Lansdowne, Zac Hill (Joe Payne 52), Zakim Evans, Charlie Rumin, George Teeney (Jack Roberts 75), Jude Ayetine (Tom Hill 50), Cameron Steele. Sub not used: Cameron Briscoe.

Goals: Zakim Evans (3), George Teeney (7).

Attendance: 155

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