Hinckley United – 1
So ever since that defeat toColwyn Bay have been on a bit of a downturn. The early season optimism was replaced with a run of defeats that saw us slump down the table. Even a victory against Warrington Town & taking the first points off Conference North new boys Brackley Town did little to lighten the mood, largely due to a disciplinary crisis. Nevertheless, two impressive performances in the FA Cup (that ultimately saw us eliminated) and a win against Hinckley United at home saw us unbeaten in the league in 2 games, the second best run of the season. A rearranged fixture vs Hinckley away at the Greene King Stadium could see us on our best league run since January.
In truth, although we had 14 available players for Hinckley, the Knitters were in a lot worse situation. With 3 solitary points and rooted to the foot of the Conference North, the new board of Hinckley United have actually come in and actually promised to sort out the finances rather than the team on the pitch. Even more surprisingly, the fans have accepted this, even if the reprieved team from Leicestershire last year seem odds on for the drop. It is admirable but understandable – I think most fans given the choice would rather watch an unsuccessful club than no club at all.
We left for Hinckley at the obscenely early time of 8:45 from Colwyn Bay, heading towards Leicestershire. Making a stop in Keele along the way (which was teaming with Reading and Blackburn Rovers fans), we made good time, and arrived at The Greene King Stadium.
The stadium in Hinckley is your typical new build stadium, located on the outskirts of the town. One thing that did strike me about Hinckley was how pretty the town was driving through it. Nevertheless, after bribing the driver to drop us in town, we headed to the local weatherspoons for a few drinks. At £1.69 a pint for ale, it’s probably one of the cheapest pints I’ve had on an away day. Which is great. Also the locals were incredibly friendly, with Hinckley United fans introducing us once they realised that we “weren’t Villa fans”. After putting the world to rights, and as the most sensible member of the Bay away crew, we organised taxis to take us to the ground.
The ground on the inside was nice, with surprisingly low advertising hoardings, a nice club shop and okay food (the chips were nice!), though the music played over the tannoys was painful, like listening to R2D2 tripping on some psychedelic drugs or something. The tannoy’s didn’t like it, and ended up breaking half way through the warm up.
The game kicked off and Colwyn Bay threatened early on, keen to avoid going two goals down like they did in the fixture last week. They got their deserved breakthrough after 10 minutes when Matty Berkeley crossed the ball into the box, for Sean Williams to bury into the corner. Hinckley attempted to get a foothold into the game, but found themselves 2-0 down after 25 minutes when Cameron Darkwah, on the run from the right wing, set Rob Hopley free into the box, who rounded the keeper to coolly finish in the bottom corner. Colwyn Bay had a 2-0 lead and looked comfortable.
However Hinckley got a lucky break, after a freekick (which seemed a little soft, the referee wasn’t the best), shot against the wall, the ball looped over to Aaron Wint who buried the ball to give Hinckley a lifeline. A further boost to the home team was handed to them just on the stroke of half time, when Tom Smyth pulled up with a foot injury. The change was cancelled out when Hinckley’s centre back went off after a clash of heads with his own player, and the game was 2-1 to the Seagulls at half time.
Hinckley however seemed like the more likely to score, and after the half time break, another free kick saw the post rattled, and Colwyn Bay dropped deeper and deeper into their own half, Hinckley didn’t create many chances, and a break saw Sean Williams (who was my man of the match) square the ball to Johnathan Breeze, who scored his first goal for the club with 3 minutes to go. Despite a late rally by the home side, Colwyn Bay finished the game as 3-1 victors, lifting them further from the drop zone.
Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Hinckley, it’s a shame that the club is currently in a period of transition, and are likely to struggle this season. Colwyn Bay are now on a 2 game win streak, and are beginning to show a bit of form that characterised their early season.