Smethwick Rangers 0-4 Hinckley AFC

A much changed Hinckley side completed their regular league season with a comfortable win as two goals in each half were enough to overcome Smethwick Rangers.

With Monday in mind, Joe Conneely made several alterations and put out a side that will show little resemblance to the starting XI against Droitwich, but despite the unfamiliarity, they were good value for their win.

With all those AFC changes and Smethwick safe from relegation, the game lacked a little intensity, though both sides tried to play passing football on a bobbly surface, especially in the first half.

Adam Barber had an outstanding game on the left flank, his early cross was volleyed over by Harry Walker-Donovan before he cut in from the flank and fired a shot just wide.

Rangers threatened when Adam Nazir flashed a shot across the face of goal before Hinckley went in front midway through the half. Tom Weale dinked a pass towards the penalty area but home defender Jordan Ambris glanced a header that looped over the stranded keeper and into the net.

Ambris almost atoned within minutes with a long range effort that Paul Hathaway clutched under his bar and Smethwick nearly levelled with an own goal of their own as Luke Wilson’s sliced clearance was superbly tipped over by Hathaway.

After Barber again came close, AFC doubled their lead just before the break with a classy goal. Weale made a more deliberate assist this time as his searching pass picked out Walker-Donovan’s run and he took a great touch on his chest before an exquisite finish with the outside of his right foot.

Hinckley were on top for much of the second half, Barber was twice denied the goal his performance deserved, initially by the legs of keeper Andreas Spanou after a superb solo run into the box and later by the woodwork that’s probably still shuddering after being struck by his fierce shot.

Lewis Rankin saw a low effort pushed aside for a corner by Spanou and AFC had to wait until the closing stages before adding to the score as Lewis Collins maintained his purple patch with a brace, initially stabbing home from close range after Spanou had done well to parry Josh Willis’ sweetly struck volley, and he added his second late on converting Rankin’s unselfish pass.

Smethwick: Andreas Spanou, Jonathan Millinchip, Ibrahim Almane (Levi Henderson 60), Callum Nevey, Jordan Ambris, Levi Simms, Sam Kayode (Mohammed Manzoor 60), Joshua Baloucoune, Lucas Edmonds, Adam Nazir, Sergio Gomes (Joel Powell 30). Subs not used Tyrese Martin, Jammeh Ebrima.

Hinckley: Paul Hathaway, Harry Walker-Donovan, Sam Ellis (Jack Edwards 70), Ky Green, Joe McNulty (Jack Beasley 75), Lewis Rankin, Tom Weale (Josh Clews 80), James Reid (Joe Obi 39 [Lewis Collins 73]), Josh Willis, Adam Barber, Luke Wilson.

Goals: Jordan Ambris (24 OG), Harry Walker-Donovan (45), Lewis Collins (81, 88).

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