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Match Report  |  Gresley Rovers vs Hinckley AFC

Gresley Rovers  1
Thomas 81
Hinckley AFC  1
Lloyd 67

Pre-Season Friendly

The Moat Ground

Saturday, 1st August 2020, 3.00pm

Rovers start with a draw

Alfie Burley

Gresley were made to rue their missed opportunities as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Hinckley in their first pre-season game since COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2019/2020 season.

Chris Lloyd had given the visitors the lead with a hooked finish, but Rovers’ managed to salvage a draw from this friendly when substitute, Keith Thomas slid the ball past the goalkeeper.

After an exciting period off the pitch with the name change back to Gresley Rovers, and the arrival of Carl Abbott and Gary Norton, the excitement to get back on the pitch was palpable at the Moat.

Despite it being behind closed doors, the players responded to this with a bright start. In fact they nearly took the lead just 13 minutes in, but it came in bizarre circumstances. A cross from the right-hand side from Ryan King evaded everyone and came back off the woodwork, only for the rebound to escape the lurking Andy Westwood.

A nasty injury to Hinckley full-back, George Brinley marred proceedings as he pulled up following an innocuous coming together with Lee Butler.

The pause in play didn’t phase Rovers, however, as they continued to press Hinckley, and they almost got their reward when a foul on the edge of the box led Louis Briscoe to force Billy Spink into a decent diving save.

However, with the end of the first half fast approaching, the home side became sloppy in possession. Twice the ball was won by Hinckley in the midfield and if it weren’t for a bad touch from Chris Lloyd, and a good save from Haydn Whitcombe, Rovers may have found themselves undeservedly behind at the break.

Immediately after the break, Rovers should really have taken the lead. Ryan King once again did well down the left to squeeze a cross down the by-line. Mitchell managed to get on the end of it, but his flicked attempt was palmed away by Spink, only for Westwood to spoon the rebound over the bar.

Five minutes later, Rovers missed an even better chance, Mitchell was once again at the heart of it as he fed Cameron Steele down the right. The overlapping full-back delivered an inch perfect cross, but King could not control his effort, scuffing over the crossbar from mere yards out.

Gresley, however, would ultimately prove to rue these glorious chances, as they fell behind in the 67th minute. A lofted free-kick found it’s way to the back post, where Carl Green headed back into the six-yard box for Chris Lloyd to hook the ball into the bottom left corner.

Yet, Rovers didn’t let their heads drop against the tenth-tier side, and they dragged themselves level in the 81st minute. Tricky feet from Lee Butler saw the midfielder dance into the box before teeing up substitute, Keith Thomas.

The strong centre-forward showed ultimate composure as he calmly slotted past the on-rushing ‘keeper to equalise for the home side.

Gresley could’ve even won in late on had the exceptional Kaylum Mitchell kept his shot down as he stabbed just over from the edge of the box.

Ultimately, however, Abbott and his team will be happy with the performance as they build their fitness ahead of the start of the 2020/2021 Midland Football Premier League season.

Gresley Rovers
1 Haydon Whitcombe
2 Cameron Steele
3 Joe Haines
4 Liam Kavanagh
5 Alby Lansdowne (c)
6 Mason Frizelle
7 Lee Butler
8 Andy Westwood
9 Louis Briscoe
10 Ryan King
11 Kaylum Mitchell
14 Connor Ward
15 Ashley Brown
16 Keith Thomas
17 Karcel Oneil-Martin
18 Jack Walsh
Hinckley AFC
1 Billy Spink
2 Olly Bradshaw
3 Danny Harris
4 Mark Williams
5 Carl Green
6 Luke Edwards
7 George Brinley
8 Chris Lloyd
9 Tom Wheal
10 Reece Giles
11 Ben Ashby
Star Player

Kaylum Mitchell