Hinckley AFC’s match against Atherstone Town was abandoned due to crowd trouble during a penalty shoot-out with Hinckley two spot kicks away from reaching a League Cup final.
With the shoot-out tied at 1-1, Hinckley with an extra kick still to take, a pitch invader sparked ugly scenes on the pitch and despite the invader being removed, the referee felt player safety was compromised and abandoned the match.
Up until that point, it had been a good advert for local football in front of a bumper 506 crowd, in which Hinckley’s Ky Green was the story for all the right reasons as he scored a stoppage time equaliser against his former club in just his second game back from nearly two years out with injury.
That sent the game into Hinckley’s first ever shoot-out, and they had the upper hand after Cameron Belford saved his third spot kick but the melee and abandonment which followed means they’re still yet to complete one.
Hinckley were missing outfield quartet Sam Walton and Joe Obi (cup-tied), Robbie Bunn (work) and Chandler Pegg (injury), as well as goalkeeper Brandon Bache, but were a match for their higher level hosts across the 90 minutes.
Kicking up the hill, AFC had the first opening when Jack Edwards was denied by Nathan Astill’s flying block, before the Adders forced Belford into saves from Jake Brown and Kevin Hemagou.
And the home side took the lead after 17 minutes, Ryan Quinn converting from the penalty spot after Matt Dawson had fouled Chris Cowley.
Hinckley continued to see more of the ball with the Adders threatening on the break, but the best chance of another goal before the break came for the visitors. Tom Weale didn’t expect Jac Redhead’s cross to reach him in the box, and the ball rebounded wide off Weale when in space from six yards.
After an open, if sometimes scrappy, first half, the second was a more subdued affair. Atherstone managed the game well and ensured limited goalmouth action for either side.
Belford got down well to deny Brown before holding Tom Smith’s fiercely-struck shot from range at the second attempt, while Lewis Collins fired over for Hinckley and Edwards’ cross was inches away from being converted by either Collins or Isa Abraham.
As the game entered its closing stages, Hinckley threw centre back Green on up front and went more direct, and it paid immediate dividends. Alec Hill made a fine fingertip save to deny Edwards, but from the resulting Lewis Rankin corner Green powered a header home to send the travelling support into raptures.
As well as the delight of levelling, the sight of Green wheeling away was one to savour. Having ruptured knee ligaments in the summer of 2021, this was just his second game back and a crucial goal was just reward for his battle back from injury.
With no extra time, that took the game to penalties – but the first four spot kicks were all saved as Belford denied James Matthews and Chris Cowley, while Hill saved from Danny Fraser and Sam Ellis.
Quinn and Rankin both scored to make it 1-1 after three each, but Belford’s save from Callum Carsley was the game’s final action and both sides now wait to see what happens next.
Hinckley AFC won the replayed penalty shoot-out 3-1. A full run through of that shoot-out can be found here.
Atherstone: Alec Hill, Perry Cotton, Callum Carsley, Nathan Astill, Darren Eggleton, Sonny Parsons (James Matthews 97), Tom Smith, Ryan Quinn, Kevin Hemagou, Jake Brown (Brady Middleton 66), Chris Cowley. Subs not used: Danny Harris, Dylan Mills, Noah Fitzgerald.
Goal: Ryan Quinn (17 pen)
Hinckley: Cameron Belford, Matt Dawson (Adam Barber 55), Danny Fraser, Jack Edwards (Nick Brandish 93), Jack Beasley, Joe McNulty, Harry Walker-Donovan (Lewis Rankin 64), Tom Weale (Sam Ellis 75), Lewis Collins, Jac Redhead (Ky Green 84), Isa Abraham.
Goal: Ky Green (90)