Stapenhill 1-1 Hinckley AFC

Hinckley AFC had to settle for a point at Stapenhill as Lewis Rankin’s goal earned a 1-1 draw at Maple Grove.

Just seven days after Hinckley’s 4-0 win over the same opponent, this proved to be a much different spectacle on a heavy pitch that meant chances were limited.

Rankin’s goal cancelled out Lewis Campbell’s opener towards the end of the first half, and although Hinckley had plenty of second-half pressure, they couldn’t find a winner.

AFC were missing both Brady Middleton and Tom Weale, and without their two leading scorers were missing a focal point up front.

And chances were limited throughout the first half high on endeavour but low on quality. Rankin’s free kick and Jack Edwards’ angled shot both flew off target, before Edwards drifted in behind the defence but headed wide.

It took 35 minutes for the game’s first shot on target, but it brought the opening goal. Steve Hart beat the offside trap and squared for Campbell, whose shot found the back of the net despite Brandon Bache’s best efforts to claw it away.

Bache then produced a full-stretch save to tip Connor Richins’ long-range shot onto the post, and that proved crucial when Hinckley levelled three minutes before the break. Rankin took advantage of a slight hesitation by Campbell to latch on to a pass, cut inside and bury a composed finish in off the post.

Richins then tested Bache again before the break, spotting the ‘keeper off his line and attempting a lob from inside the centre circle, but the retreating ‘keeper pushed it away.

Hinckley showed more fluency in the second half, and they controlled the play for long spells. Home ‘keeper Paul Hollis was quickly called upon to block from Isa Abraham, before Rankin’s cross ran right across the face of goal.

At the other end, Hart headed a deep cross over the bar before Hinckley quickly resumed their ascendancy – substitute Riley Davoile’s first action was to fizz a shot which Hollis tipped onto the bar, the ‘keeper then saving from Abraham again.

Stapenhill regained a foothold as the half progressed – Richins flashed one wide on the break while Hart was close to converting a diving header at the far post.

But if there was to be a winner, it looked more likely to be Hinckley. Davoile volleyed Preston Bitemo’s cross straight at Hollis before Rankin struck narrowly over in what proved to be game’s final chance, with the sides settling for a point apiece.

Stapenhill: Paul Hollis, Ronnie Bonser, Lewis Campbell, Matt Roome, Harry Lansdowne, Niall Dawkins (Ashton Frost 82), Cameron Steele, Jake Meakin, Steve Hart, Connor Richins, Ben Novis. Subs not used: James Frost, Zac Hill, Tommy Large, Brad Wright.

Goal: Lewis Campbell (35)

Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Danny Fraser (Adam Barber 82), Preston Bitemo, Calum Flanagan, Joe Obi, Lewis Rankin, Declan Somel (Riley Davoile 57), Jack Edwards (Joe Cairns 76), Harry Walker-Donovan (Zaki Evans 63), Isa Abraham. Sub not used: Matt Hill

Goal: Lewis Rankin (42)

Attendance: 110

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