Saturday 11th August 2018 15.00
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Hinckley AFC 1 Anstey Nomads 1 HT: 1-0 Att: 218
Ryan 14p : Armeni 60
from Welfare Ground
Hinckley AFC were established in January 2014. You will no doubt remember a previous incarnation of them, Hinckley United, who had a few successful years high up the non league pyramid, including losing 4-3 (to a last minute penalty) to Farlsey Celtic in a play-off final for the Conference National in 2007. Hinckley United moved to a new ground called Leicester Road in 2005, which if you visit still has old United signs around. Unfortunately United were relegated from the Conference North in 2012-13 and then liquidated six months later.
Their Leicester Road Ground was immediately tenanted by new club Leicester Road. Three months Hinckley AFC were formed but with no ground of their own. They shared with Heather St John’s (pron. Hee-ther Sinjuns) for a few years until this season where they are co-habiting with Ibstock United.
Now Ibstock United have a lively recent history of their own. Ibstock merged with nearby Ellistown in 2015 and played at Ellistown’s Terrace Road ground. They played in the East Midlands League. Just two years later though, they split apart again and Ibstock returned to their Welfare Ground and Ellistown shed the Ibstock from their name. Luckily for Ellistown, when I went to see the merged club in 2016, the new sign was just stuck in front of the old one, so I assume they just removed the new one and they were good to go.
They have spent their existence in the step six Midlands League Division One, but in their first season they went a record breaking 27 games without defeat, and the following season got to the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup by beating Redditch United, three steps higher in the pyramid.
The Welfare Ground is small but smart. On the long side as you come in there is a tiny covered stand with three benches, with lines dilineating seats and next to this a small covered shelter for standing.
The game was a great encounter and deserved to go to a replay. There really was nothing between the teams, but Hinckley struck first in the first half. Anstey levelled with a well worked move and good finish from ten yards. These stages of the FA Cup are where the magic is left, where games are played in a competitive spirit and it still means something. Come the third round the pendulum swings completely the opposite way as games become dull, big name teams completely tarnish the competition and spoil it for fans by putting out their reserve teams, who then play like it’s a training match. Still a few more good rounds to go though.