Hinckley AFC 4-0 Wednesfield

Hinckley bade farewell to a memorable 2023 with a hard fought win over a Wednesfield side who demonstrated why they came into this game unbeaten in two months.

Though the final scoreline was comprehensive enough, it doesn’t tell the full story. Tom Weale’s first half brace put AFC two up but Wednesfield enjoyed a good spell either side of half time and Hinckley had to weather some pressure before goals from Lewis Rankin and Declan Somel secured the points in the final quarter.

Hinckley went in front on ten minutes, Matt Dawson’s shot struck the arm of a defender and Weale converted the spot kick with his customary aplomb.

Visiting keeper Craig Pain then did well to turn over a header from his own defender before AFC doubled their lead on the half hour. They were awarded an indirect free kick in the area, which Rankin touched for Weale to drive his shot home.

Undeterred, the visitors sought to get back on terms before the break. The impressive Kie Houlihan produced a neat turn on the edge of the area before his shot was saved by Brandon Bache and moments later Jay Holdcroft’s effort was cleared off the line by Dawson.

The next goal was crucial and Wednesfield almost scored it soon after the interval when Tony Agnello’s well struck angled drive came back off the inside of a post.

But though the visitors saw a lot of the ball, that was to be the closest they came to a goal.

Home fans were looking for something special to extend their lead and calm their nerves, and once again it was Rankin who provided it. He worked himself an opening on the right hand corner of the area before curling home a left foot shot inside the far post – a moment of pure quality.

Shortly after, Hinckley completed the scoring, Dawson’s burst to the right hand byline saw him pull back a cross that reached Somel who applied a clinical finish.

And as Hinckley ended the stronger, only some last ditch defending prevented Rankin and Riley Davoile from adding to the score as Hinckley emerged from a competitive game having secured their tenth successive league win to see in the New Year in pole position.

Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Danny Fraser, Harry Sawyer (Zaki Evans 65), Tom Weale (Ky Green 79), Jack Beasley, Lewis Rankin, Declan Somel, Brady Middleton, Jack Edwards (Riley Davoile 77), Isa Abraham (Joe Cairns 73). Sub not used: Shay Durkan.

Goals: Tom Weale (12 pen, 33), Lewis Rankin (74), Declan Somel (78)

Wednesfield: Craig Pain, Jordan Uppal, Lewis Worsey (Ryley Bissell 84), Nathan Walker, Daniel Turton, Bradley Lawley, Tony Agnello, Kie Houlihan, Jay Holdcroft, Ronan Sheehan (Jake Griffiths 35), Dominic Latham. Subs not used: Daniel Johnson, Jack Granaghan, Freddie Cockerell

Attendance: 220

, , ,