Hinckley’s Leicester Road FC clinched their first ever domestic trophy with a dramatic 89th minute winner from striker Tom McGlinchey in the Jelson Homes Senior Cup Final at Holmes Park in Whetstone – the HQ of the Leicestershire FA.
Always on top, they overcame a resolute Holwell Sports from Melton Mowbray 2-1 and were rewarded for their patient and flowing approach play when McGlinchey beat the offside trap with the 90 minutes nearly up, to calmly round the keeper and slot home.
Leicester Road were quickly into their stride and Joseph Lyne tested the Holwell keeper Jamie Witham almost immediately with a firm header, but when Matty Stenson’s goal bound effort was only palmed away on five minutes Jake Holt smashed in the rebound to give LRFC the perfect start.
LRFC continued to force the play on an immaculate surface and Luke Kingsley-Smith fired just over on 26 minutes after more crisp passing from Lyne and Billy Bennett, whilst Stenson was again denied on 29 minutes when Witham got down sharply to his right after a teasing McGlinchey cross.
Moments later, Leicester Road keeper Will Highland was called into action for the first time after a defensive mix up, but on 30 minutes he had no chance when Holwell striker Mark Tinsley curled one into his top left hand corner from 25 yards out – their first shot on target.
LRFC continued to press and Stenson almost squeezed a header in from a pinpoint corner, while on 42 minutes Holwell’s Witham made a stunning double save – reacting quickly to another Stenson header and then foiling Bennett on the rebound with a point blank, goal line stop.
So, just 1-1 at half time with Leicester Road dominating possession via their slick, controlled football, Callum Earls a rock in their defence, but Holwell Sports looking dangerous on set pieces.
LRFC began the second half earnestly and captain Greg Downes nearly converted at full stretch on 51 minutes, while Holwell’s efforts from distance were either high and wide or straight at Highland. Then on 59 minutes Stenson was clean through but dragged his shot just wide, whilst minutes later his acrobatic cross almost put Bennett in at the far post.
Leicester Road were now enjoying a period of sustained pressure and a Stenson curler hit team mate Lyne when it look destined for the corner, while Bennett’s in swinging crosses from the left were causing Holwell real problems – with both Downes and Holt agonisingly close to converting.
On 70 minutes a quick clearance allowed Stenson to lob a header over the advancing Witham, but it clipped the outside of the post, whilst minutes later at the other end Josh Smith did well to clear a shot that looked to be creeping in at the far corner.
But, it was the Holwell keeper who was far busier, with a finger tip save from Bennett on 76 minutes, an outstretched leg to deny Stenson yet again and firm hands on a McGlinchey drive straight after. Holwell’s only other real chance of the half was blazed over in the box on 80 minutes.
LRFC continued to press for a winner by stretching the play from left to right and after a lovely series of one-two interchanges, Holt put McGlinchey through on 84 minutes only for his tightly angled shot to bounce off the far post with Witham well beaten.
Bennett was injured with a heavy clearance tackle trying to continue the move, to be replaced by Amarvir Sandhu, but LRFC continued to probe and push.
And befitting a cup final, the best move of the game earned the spoils – Josh Unsworth calmly playing out from the back found Lyne, who together with Downes and Holt passed and moved their way through the Holwell midfield to set McGlinchey up for the deserved winner.
LRFC Head of Football, Neil Lyne, says: “We probably should have been clear before Tom’s excellent late finish, but the lads didn’t panic and stuck to the game plan to earn their just rewards. Holwell’s direct approach and playing a 4-2-4 system had to be controlled – and us adapting to a 4-3-3 for the second half helped to contain them, whilst controlling midfield and the tempo of the game.
“It’s fantastic for all concerned with the football club and the town of Hinckley to lift this prestigious county cup trophy in what is only our third season, as the club’s history continues to be written through this young group of players during these early years.”
Updated 08:10 - 13 Jul 2017 by Paul Moss