Hinckley RFC stayed top of the National League 2 North with a superb win away at Stourbridge, whilst Derby County Ladies and Mansfield Town both successfully negotiated tricky FA Cup ties as our sporting partners recorded 3 wins out of 3 again at the weekend.
Derby County Ladies
Derby County Ladies needed penalties to progress through to the Women’s FA Cup 3rd round against determined Northern League One side Hull City.
John Bennett’s side dominated large periods of the game, taking a first-half lead through Nikki Ledgester; however, the visitors showed why they came into the game unbeaten this season, by not only equalising but then keeping Ewe Rams at bay throughout the remainder of both normal and extra time.
The game started at a fast pace with both sides looking to get on the front foot early on. Derby quickly showed their intent with a counter-attack that led to three successive corners that were all well defended by Hull.
Just as the visitors started to settle Derby took the lead. A ball was played into the box and City failed to clear their lines allowing Nikki Ledgister to fire home from six yards. This prompted a wave of pressure from the home side but they couldn’t get that vital second goal.
The two sides traded attacks for much of the second-half, Hull hitting the bar and Ledgister forcing a good save from the Hull keeper.
As time started to run out and it looked like Derby would close out the game Hull grabbed what was probably a deserved equaliser on the balance of play. Nat Bell was the Hull scorer, netting from 20 yards after picking up a weak clearance from the Derby keeper.
Derby came closest to nicking it; hitting the bar with a header from an 83rd-minute corner. Despite appeals, the ball was adjudged not to have crossed the line and the game moved into extra time.
Derby also came closest in the extra period, striking the woodwork again from the edge of the area but with no further score, the game went to penalties.
Two saves from Sarah Morgan left 16-year-old debutant Anita Gaspar with the chance to win the game for the Ewe Rams and she showed tremendous nerve to slot home the decisive spot-kick.
Hinckley continued their excellent season with an extremely impressive 35-0 win away to Stourbridge.
Confidence was very high traveling to Stourbridge as you would expect with Hinckley now heading National 2 North. However, they were meeting a side who have sat higher in the league pyramid for a number of years and had spent most of this season leading the league.
Whilst a Hinckley victory would not be considered exactly a shock result, nobody quite expected such a margin of victory, setting a tremendous marker for the rest of the season.
The first half of the game was actually relatively uneventful – defence ruled with the majority of the game between the 22s and it looked as though the half would finish scoreless. Alex Salt, however, had other ideas, scoring from a catch and drive taken at the back by Gareth Turner, Joe Glover kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
The early period of the second half was dominated by Stourbridge roared on by significant home support. In all honesty, Hinckley were lucky to get out with no points conceded, in particular as David Peck was yellow carded on 52 minutes for pulling down a maul and there could have been very few complaints if the referee had gone under the posts and awarded a penalty try. But he didn’t, and minutes later Joe Glover had cleared downfield and suddenly Stourbridge were defending their own line.
The clearance from Glover was the turning point – after that Stourbridge didn’t get back in the Hinckley 22, and the visitors entered the Stourbridge 22 four times and scored on all four occasions.
The first came just before Peck returned to the field when Marshall went over from a second maul. The result was then secured with 10 minutes to play when Sam Driver added to the score. Glover added both conversions before being replaced, taking his total to 17/18 this season.
The bonus point came when George Marsden continued his habit of scoring off the bench taking a smart offload from James Martin and then on the final whistle, Callum Dacey scored from the closest of ranges from a pick and go. Dacey converted both scores, the first time he was scored points for the club with the boot.
Hinckley still head the table from Tynedale but are equal on points and wins. Sale, the pre-season favourites are now up to 3rd with Sedgley Park just behind having suffered defeat to Huddersfield.
Mansfield Town FC
A superb hat-trick by striker Jimmy Spencer ensured Mansfield Town booked their place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup with a dominant 3-0 win over National League side Guiseley at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
The first half went very much to form with Mansfield peppering the Guiseley goal from the outset. The very much deserved opener arrived in the 31st minute when Spencer headed home winger Paul Anderson’s cross from six yards out.
A goal down and under a lot of pressure, Guiseley’s task got even harder in the 39th minute when Darren Holden was sent off for a wild challenge on Spencer.
The Lions were reduced to nine men early in the second half when defender Chris M’Boungou was shown a second yellow card before Mansfield scored a second in the 52nd minute when Spencer converted winger CJ Hamilton’s drilled pass.
Spencer secured his hat-trick, and The Stags place in the 3rd round, in the 66th minute, converting a penalty after he had been fouled in the area.