Atletico got the Midland League One season off to a great start with a 0-3 victory over
Southam United, with Luke Richards, JJ Melligan and Mark Bellingham scoring the goals.
With all the players making their competitive debuts for AFC, there were also a few new
faces who joined the club on the eve of the season, Sam Arnold started in goal with defender
John Clapp, midfielder Ray Facey and striker Mark Bellingham all starting from the subs bench.
Hinckley opened with plenty of pressure and could've been ahead in the first 5 minutes, however
Richards header dropped just the wrong side of the post. Then Justin Nisbett beat the keeper with
a chip, but the covering Southam defender got back to clear for a corner. Southam matched
Hinckley in the midfield winning a lot of possession, but couldn't create anything threatening
in the final third. On the stroke of half time with Nisbett running through, Southam keeper came
a clear few feet outside his area to claim the ball and, even though not a clear goal scoring
opportunity, after consulting with his linesman the ref showed Matt Oliver a straight red
card for the professional foul. With no sub keeper, striker Louis Bridges took over between
the sticks. Half time came with the score 0-0.
If Hinckley had not converted their chances first half, it took just a couple of minutes
to put that right second half. Luke Richards ran through with the ball, used his strength
to hold off his marker and placed a diagonal shot underneath Bridges to score Hinckley AFC's
first competitive goal. This settled Hinckley who had looked a little nervous, and began to
make the most of their man advantage. Bridges then saved well from Matt Bailey, as he was
free to shoot from 10 yards, the Southam keeper deflecting the ball wide for a corner. Though
the stand in keeper could do nothing to stop the second just after the hour, when Nisbett
did well on the left of the area, and crossed into the goal area for JJ Melligan 6 yards
out to side foot into the Southam goal. Sam Arnold was called into the game to make a good
save on 70 mins when Oli Manoochehri was played through one on one, and the young stopper
stood up well pushing the ball away from the Southam forward's shot. Mark Bellingham was
introduced to the game with 15 minutes left, but still had time to leave his signature on
it adding Hinckley's third with 10 minutes remaining, directing a header into the far corner
from a left wing cross. Final score Southam 0 - 3 Atletico.
As a small moral victory for the supporters, even though it means nothing at this point,
it was great to see Hinckley AFC sitting top of the league table, after matchweek 1.
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Southam United match details