A goal in each half sees AFC take win

Hinckley Times - - SPORT -

HINCK­LEY AFC got 2019 off to a win­ning start as a goal in each half saw off Stapen­hill at the Wel­fare Ground.

Af­ter a tough end to the last cal­en­dar year, John Ramshaw went into the game still seek­ing his first win as Hinck­ley man­ager.

And he got it with a hard fought dis­play in which Alando Lewis and David Jones scored ei­ther side of half time to give Hinck­ley the per­fect start to the new year.

Ramshaw made two changes to the side beaten by Heather St John’s on Box­ing Day, as in­flu­en­tial mid­fielder Sam Belcher re­turned and new sign­ing Yinka Ade­bowale made a de­but in goal.

And AFC started brightly in their quest for points, hav­ing the bet­ter of the early play as vis­it­ing keeper Tom Cox had to push away Belcher’s cross from the feet of Ryan Mur­phy.

They then came within inches of break­ing the dead­lock when Louis Hamil­ton’s free kick was knocked back across the face of goal by Lewis for Ty­rone Bur­ton’s strike to be saved on the line.

Then, Cox de­nied Hamil­ton with his legs and Belcher fizzed a shot just over as Hinck­ley sought to make their early con­trol count.

But they couldn’t do that and Stapen­hill grew grad­u­ally into the game. Ade­bowale was called into his first ac­tion in a Hinck­ley shirt to deny Jamie Dins­ley af­ter a free kick found its way to the far post.

He then had to deny George Teeney low down as the vis­i­tors broke at pace through Lewis Camp­bell down their left.

As half time loomed, chances started to flow more at both ends and seven min­utes be­fore the break, Ja­son Lee’s cross/shot clipped the top of the cross­bar with Cox beaten.

The vis­i­tors then hit the wood­work them­selves through Teeney’s an­gled drive, and that proved cru­cial when Hinck­ley broke the dead­lock a minute later.

A de­fender hes­i­tated in clear­ing Belcher’s cross from the right, and Lewis stabbed home his first Hinck­ley goal from close range to send his side into the break ahead

In truth, it was prob­a­bly a fair score­line on re­flec­tion of a half that Hinck­ley shaded, but Stapen­hill had come close to break­ing the dead­lock – and they came even closer to net­ting three min­utes af­ter half time when Dis­ney’s shot on the turn struck the in­side of the post and Hinck­ley were re­lieved to see the ball stay out.

Nearly stung by a lev­eller, Hinck­ley didn’t let their vis­i­tors get that close again and it was Ramshaw’s side who looked the more likely after­wards.

Lewis drilled a ball across the face of goal where no­body got the de­ci­sive touch, be­fore the sec­ond goal made Hinck­ley more com­fort­able mid­way through the half when Jones bun­dled home Lewis’ left wing cross.

That calmed the game down, and real chances were few and far be­tween af­ter that – Hinck­ley com­ing clos­est to a third when Belcher’s 20 yard free kick was saved.

But for a tran­si­tion­ing Hinck­ley side, while they weren’t flu­ent at times, three points and a clean sheet rep­re­sents a pos­i­tive start to 2019.

Hinck­ley AFC in ac­tion at the week­end. Pic­tures: Mark Par­sons

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