Hinckley AFC 10-1 AFC Bridgnorth

Hinckley AFC hit their biggest league win for five-and-a-half years with a 10-1 success over AFC Bridgnorth.

In a ruthless and relentless display throughout, Hinckley took the lead in the 13th minute and never looked back as they hit six before half-time, and four more after the break.

Brady Middleton grabbed a hat-trick, with six different goalscorers finding the net during the course of a memorable evening.

The home side used the ball superbly on the 3G pitch, with incisive passing and movement creating a multitude of chances and bringing about some magnificent team goals.

Hinckley could have taken the lead earlier than they did, but visiting ‘keeper Ryan Cheshire saved well from Lewis Rankin when he bore down on goal in the seventh minute.

Declan Somel was making a home debut in midfield after signing last week, and he headed home the opener from Matt Dawson’s cross following a flowing move.

Just four minutes later came arguably the goal of the night – Hinckley recycled the ball after Tom Weale was forced out of the box, and Danny Fraser’s neat one-two with Weale ended with the latter backheeling into the former’s path to slide home the second.

Weale was provider for the third too, squaring for Jack Edwards to tap home his first of the night after a Middleton through ball.

Dom Heath had Bridgnorth’s best chance of the half, nodding a free header over the bar when well-placed, but Hinckley quickly resumed dominance and the floodgates opened with a spell of three more goals in five minutes before half-time.

Edwards fired his second into the roof of the net from Dawson’s pull-back, Middleton scored his first by outmuscling his man to get through on goal and coolly burying, and Dawson got on the scoresheet himself with a low left-footer that flew between the goalkeeper’s legs.

That was Dawson’s fourth of the season from right-back and, with three for Danny Fraser too, proves the full-backs’ goal threats.

Joe Conneely and Courtney Hunter-Belford called for more ruthlessness after the game against Paget Rangers a fortnight ago, and they got their request.

The second half saw no let-up in intensity and, after Cheshire made a smart save to deny Rankin again, he was powerless to prevent a seventh ten minutes into the half when Sam Walton lashed home a loose ball following a Rankin corner.

The Hinckley work ethic was epitomised by the eighth goal – Middleton chasing down a Bridgnorth defender inside the box, winning the ball back and driving towards goal before finishing for his second of the night.

Centre-back Walton had scored two goals in his first 25 Hinckley appearances – his next two came inside 25 minutes as he glanced home a header from Josh Clews’ free-kick for the ninth.

Brandon Bache was largely a spectator for much of the game on his return from injury, but after saving from Mark Danks’ strike from outside the box, he was denied a clean sheet when substitute Elliot Lee lost his marker and powered home a free header from a corner to give Bridgnorth something to cheer.

But Hinckley, and Middleton, had the last laugh, the team reaching double figures and Middleton earning the matchball when he diverted Tom Armitage’s cross inside the far post.

It meant the win was Hinckley’s biggest since the 11-1 win over Coventry Alvis in March 2018 – and they would have matched that scoreline had Cheshire not pulled off a fine save to deny Harry Walker-Donovan in the last minute.

But a double-figure win marks a fine way for Hinckley to end their first run of league fixtures, ahead of the visit of higher-level Bewdley Town in the FA Vase next weekend.

Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson (Adam Barber 77), Danny Fraser (Tom Armitage 68), Josh Clews, Calum Flanagan (Jack Beasley 61), Sam Walton, Lewis Rankin, Tom Weale (Isa Abraham 61), Brady Middleton, Declan Somel (Harry Walker-Donovan 68), Jack Edwards.

Goals: Declan Somel (13), Danny Fraser (17), Jack Edwards (23, 39), Brady Middleton (41, 63, 80), Matt Dawson (44), Sam Walton (55, 73)

Attendance: 223

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