Haughmond 0-2 Hinckley AFC

Second-half goals from debutant Joe Obi and Matt Dawson were enough for Hinckley AFC to earn three points at Haughmond.

On a blustery day, chances were at a premium and Obi’s close range finish broke the deadlock just before the hour, before Dawson sealed it late on.

But the game also brought a hugely valuable clean sheet for Brandon Bache and his defence as Hinckley recorded a first league shut out since November.

Still missing Chandler Pegg through an ankle problem and without Sam Walton through covid, Joe Conneely made four changes to his Hinckley side beaten by Droitwich Spa a fortnight ago.

That included a debut for Obi up front, while fellow new signings Sam Ellis and Luke Francis made second-half introductions from the bench.

The strong breeze made things difficult for both sides and real goalmouth action was limited – though Hinckley had the better of it.

After Bache saved from Seth Ellis, Hinckley took control and were inches away from leading on three occasions. Obi and Danny Fraser both had efforts cleared off the line, while the debutant forward also hit the post with a header from Fraser’s cross.

In between those, Lewis Collins also dragged wide and had a header saved by Sam Jones but Haughmond’s defending was largely solid and the game went into the interval goalless.

Hinckley stepped up slightly after the break, and less than 15 minutes of the second half had passed when Obi broke the deadlock. Jack Edwards was fouled in the box and then collided with another Haughmond player, but the referee waved play on and after a scrappy build-up, Obi fired home a first Hinckley goal from six yards.

The home side kept their shape well to prevent Hinckley having too many sighters at a second, and could have levelled affairs when a quick break down the right ended with Steve Nicholson’s stooping header ballooning over the bar from close range.

And four minutes later Hinckley made them pay – two debutants were involved as Francis’ header fell for Obi, and the latter fed Dawson to take a touch and drill home a left-footed finish.

AFC could have added more late on but Francis hit the post on the angle and then flicked Fraser’s cross straight at Jones.

But it was a solid return to winning ways for Hinckley ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Ingles in the League Cup, and then the visit of Ashby Ivanhoe for a county derby next week.

Haughmond: Sam Jones, Sam Edwards, Matt Fletcher, Josh Jones, Liam Taylor, Seth Ellis, Steve Nicholson (Henry McGowan 90), Harry Griffiths (Joe Byrne 84), Jack Leask (Liam Walton 46), Jacob Welch (Lewis Speake 65), Andy Hall (Cam Murdoch 69).

Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Adam Barber (Luke Francis 59), Jack Edwards, Joe McNulty, Jack Beasley, Lewis Rankin (Tom Weale 73), Harry Walker-Donovan (Sam Ellis 46), Joe Obi, Lewis Collins (Isa Abraham 59), Danny Fraser. Sub not used: Luke Wilson.

Goals: Joe Obi (58), Matt Dawson (79)

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