Celtic simply had too much for Hinckley, putting four goals past the visitors without reply, despite Hinckley putting up a spirited fight.
Celtic showed their intent from the off when a fine move swept down the field, culminating in an Adam Pepper pass into the path of Mark Lees to curl past Rob Peet, only to see his shot smack the crossbar. But Hinckley were not there to make up the numbers, and they showed this with an excellent move of their own that culminated with Dan Bragoli’s superb effort that brought the best out of Alex Cairns, flying through the air to punch away the shot, and deserved his bit of luck as Aron Cole put the loose ball wide of the mark.
Shortly after Jordan Barrow had headed a corner over the bar from close range, Celtic swept through the Hinckley rear-guard with Mitchell Austin showing determination, before feeding Pepper to dance through the challenges and unselfishly feed the ball to Greg Wilkinson, unmarked on the edge of the six yard box for a simple tap home. The goal shook Hinckley, and it allowed Austin and Pepper to link up again, and this time, Pepper deservedly took the glory himself, with a world class shot that gave Peet no chance.
Pepper had to leave the field with an injury, but his replacement, Jon Lyndsay was on hand to make his debut. The last thing Hinckley needed before half time was to concede another goal. When Austin was heading toward goal, he was pulled back by Charlie Raglan. It was a soft penalty, especially with Peet making a good stop on Austin’s feet. Peet also got a hand to Jordan Barrow’s penalty kick right before half time, but couldn’t keep it out.
Hinckley had to get back into the game quickly, and came out of the blocks at speed. Cairns was called into action twice in quick success, reacting superbly to reach Raglan’s connection to a corner, and then catching the Theo Brown’s effort from the second corner. Cairns was there again with a superb save, arching over to tip away Aron Wint’s shot on the turn, and when Wint finally did beat the Celtic keeper, the crossbar was in the way.
Just when it looked like Hinckley might get back into the game, a long punt from Cairns set substitute Jack Laird off on a run. He showed composure beyond his years as he spotted Peet coming off his line and coolly lobbed him with an inch perfect lob on the run. Seconds later and Peet got his own back on Laird as Laird was again freed to run at him, this time opting to try and take the ball round him, only for Peet to snatch the ball cleanly off Laird.
At the other end, Cairns earned his second clean sheet with his best save of the match to deny Danny Newton cutting in from the left. With five minutes left on the clock, Celtic set up camp around the Hinckley box, and could have added to the tally with both Wilkinson and Laird firing narrowly wide, but the four goals put Celtic within touching distance of the play off spots.
|8||Holt, Jake||> 57|
|10||Darkin, Darious||> 45|
|11||Newton, Danny||> 45|
|12||Lane, Jack||< 45|
|16||Brown, Theo||< 45|
|17||Wilkins, Sean||< 57|