Chelmsley Town 1-2 Hinckley AFC

Brady Middleton and Tom Weale scored in either half as Hinckley AFC picked up a first win of 2024 with a 2-1 victory at Chelmsley Town.

It was a hard-fought win for Hinckley but they arguably should have been more comfortable on the scoresheet, hitting the woodwork four times during the match.

They also missed a series of good chances but Middleton’s opener and Weale’s penalty, either side of Oli Jeeves’ leveller, secured an important three points.

Hinckley started the brighter, and thought they’d taken the lead after just four minutes. Home ‘keeper Liam Moss clawed an effort off the line following a corner, AFC recycled the play and Middleton converted, but he was surprised to see the assistant’s flag deny him.

The Hinckley forwards’ battles with the assistant’s flag were a feature of the first half – Joe Cairns also put the ball in the net but was given offside and then booked for kicking the ball away.

There was no stopping the opener 10 minutes later though, Middleton getting on the scoresheet for good this time as he converted Matt Dawson’s cross at the far post.

In truth, Hinckley controlled much of the half and they came within inches of a stunning second, when Lewis Rankin showed exquisite technique to shoot from range but the ball cannoned off the bar.

The game really opened up just before half-time, Matt Hill making his first save from Jeeves, but the game’s complexion changed inside the next two minutes.

Hinckley spurned two golden chances – Riley Davoile ran through on goal but his heavy touch allowed Moss to smother, and within a minute Rankin went one-on-one with the ‘keeper too but scuffed his effort which Moss saved.

And they were made to pay in stoppage time, when Chelmsley’s best move of the half brought about a left-wing cross which Jeeves headed home from close range.

That gave the hosts a boost and they had their best spell of the game shortly after the break, coming close when Adam Woods cut inside but shot straight at Hill.

Cairns shot tamely at Moss as Hinckley looked to restore their lead, he was soon replaced by Weale who made an instant impact – being brought down in the box and sending Moss the wrong way from the spot.

Not content with that, Hinckley pressed for further goals and on another day could have had them. Debutant Ben Forrest, who slotted well into the backline alongside Ky Green before being forced off late on, headed against the post and Weale’s effort from halfway landed on the roof of the net.

Then, Drew Kear nearly marked his return with a goal when he also struck the woodwork after Middleton’s shot deflected into his path, Zaki Evans bent a 20-yarder against the post, Danny Fraser was denied by the diving Moss and Matt Dawson opted to shoot and was denied by the ‘keeper when he might have squared.

Having done everything but score against Ingles last week, you wondered if it would be another of those days for Hinckley as the hosts put plenty of balls forward late on.

But the visitors defended well to restrict any Chelmsley chances late on and see out their first three points of the new year after going two without a victory in January.

Chelmsley: Liam Moss, Casey Roberts (Al-Mohamin Traore 78), Harry Manton (James Brown 84), Corey Solomon, Henry Walker, Lewis Moss (George Hunt 78), Luke Francis, Zaki Kamali, Oli Jeeves (Alfie Chatwin 78), Charlie Swann (Kesi Nwobi 67), Adam Woods.

Goal: Oli Jeeves (45)

Hinckley: Matt Hill, Matt Dawson, Danny Fraser, Declan Somel, Ky Green, Ben Forrest (Harry Walker-Donovan 85), Lewis Rankin (Drew Kear 67), Joe Cairns (Tom Weale 56), Brady Middleton (Adam Barber 77), Zaki Evans, Riley Davoile (Jack Edwards 56).

Goals: Brady Middleton (14), Tom Weale (57 pen)

Attendance: 130

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