Smethwick Rangers 1-0 Hinckley AFC

Hinckley AFC’s Midland League Division One season ended with defeat as the champions went down 1-0 to Smethwick Rangers.

In an error-strewn game that felt like a pre-season friendly for the most part, Lucas Edwards scored the only goal in the first half.

Four of Hinckley’s Under 18s side featured during the course of the game with Cody Faulkner and Elliott Pratt making their first appearance, while goalkeeping coach Shay Durkan also debuted late on, but there was little life in the performance from the visitors.

With an eye on Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final against Highgate United, Hinckley went into the game without Matt Dawson, Ky Green, Jack Edwards, Tom Weale and Adam Barber, while Joe Obi also missed the game ahead of running the London Marathon.

And Smethwick took advantage of a flat Hinckley display to take the lead on 19 minutes. The game’s first real chance came from a Hinckley attack – the home side won the ball back and then one pass from Jamie Biddle allowed Edwards to run through on goal and score.

The closest Hinckley came before the break came late in a half with little goalmouth action – Brady Middleton fired into the side netting following Chandler Pegg’s smart touch, before Isa Abraham cut inside but fired straight at home ‘keeper Isaac Taylor.

Hinckley’s best chance came five minutes after the break – Brady Middleton’s pass sent Pegg through on goal and he was brought down in the box, but his penalty was poorly struck and Taylor saved.

Still neither side asserted any authority on the game, but Smethwick threatened a second when Matt Hill saved from Jake Allen and then Dylan Green flashed one just over.

Hinckley’s other big chance came in stoppage time. Substitute Sonny Sheasby got to the ball ahead of Taylor, rounded the ‘keeper and looked set to tap home a leveller until Charlie Aston raced back to clear off the line.

And so went Hinckley’s chances of getting anything from the game, and they will need to dust themselves down ahead of Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final.

Smethwick: Isaac Taylor, Dylan Green, Jake Wilkes, Tazivaishe Chibaya, Charlie Aston, Jake Lamb (Danny Kitching 25), Danny Wood, Jake Allen (Kadeem Wisdom 88), Lucas Edwards (Kamil Solecki 56), Jamie Biddle (Red Simmons 82), Romehl Critchlow. Sub not used: Youssef Elazhari.

Goal: Lucas Edwards (19)

Hinckley: Matt Hill (Shay Durkan 80), Harry Walker-Donovan, Danny Fraser, Declan Somel, James Bryson, Preston Bitemo, Isa Abraham, Cody Faulkner (Elliott Pratt 61), Chandler Pegg (Sonny Sheasby 66), Riley Davoile, Brady Middleton (Lewis Rankin 56). Sub not used: Zaki Evans

Attendance: 76

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