On Saturday high stakes football returns to Hinckley as Leicester Road entertain AFC Hinckley at Leicester Road Stadium (15:00 kick off). In a rivalry that is clearly about more than just what happens on the pitch, entertainment is an almost certainty. The passion and commitment of both sets of fans cannot be questioned and, after the reverse fixture, the aftermath went on well after full time in the clubhouse and on social media. With the advantage to local football fans that Premier League title chasers Leicester City are away to Watford on Saturday evening – a match being shown live on Sky – and tickets at just £5 for adults (under 16’s free), there is no reason not to get down and watch the Hinckley derby (LE Classico as I am affectionately calling it).
A win for the home side will cement their place in the top 5, whereas an away win will see AFC move within 4 points of their hosts.
The two meetings this season should be enough to wet the appetite of the local football fan. In November Leicester Road travelled out to Heather in the league and quickly went 2-0 up. A remarkable comeback in the second half from the home side found the score levelled at 2-2 until stoppage time when Hinckley captain Luke Richards scored a dramatic winner.
credit Hinckley AFC on youtube for video
Two weeks later in the quarter finals of the Jelson Homes Senior Cup, Leicester Road again travelled 11 miles to the current home of AFC Hinckley but this time it was the home side that raced into a two goal lead. The visitors scored two second half goals to send the tie into extra time. Hinckley went down to 10 men and Leicester Road took the lead for the first time in the tie. Keeper Sam Arnold, who was having to play out on the wing at this point, equalised for the ten-man home side before another dramatic winner for Hinckley. A penalty a few minutes from time securing the win for the home team who have recently won the semi final against Birstall to secure a second successive final.
Form wise, Leicester Road have won their last 3 games, only losing 1 of 5 in 2016. They have played 16 home games this season only losing 1, to league leaders Coventry United.
AFC Hinckley have played 9 games so far in 2016, losing only once. They are unbeaten in their last 6 and have won 7 of their last 10 games away from home (including 2 neutral venues).
Last time out offers a decent chance to compare the two sides as they both played the same opposition. On Saturday, Leicester Road won 2-1 away at Pelsall Villa, whereas on Tuesday of this week AFC Hinckley threw away a two goal lead and looked to have lost 3-2 until a late equaliser secured a point.
If you are looking for the big game mentality of the two sides, Leicester Road have beaten leaders Coventry United but have lost twice to Hinckley. In terms of local derbies against Atherstone and Nuneaton Griff, they have played each once, beating Griff and losing to Atherstone.
As for Hinckley they have beaten higher league opposition in various cups, most notably Redditch United. The two victories over Leicester Road and a cup semi final win to their name too suggest Carl Abbotts men tend to deal well with pressure. In the derbies they have lost one and drawn one against Nuneaton Griff and beaten Atherstone in their one game so far this season.
In terms of players any first time viewers should look out for, Leicester Road star men include James Hicks who has scored 22 goals so far this season, while strike partner Amarvir Sandhu has chipped in with 16 goals of his own plus 16 assists.
As for the visitors goalkeeper Tom Cross is known for making spectacular saves. On loan defender Alex Penny is strong, pacey, good in the air and with the ball at his feet. Ryan Seal wins a lot of plaudits for his performances in midfield and has an eye for goal, while striker and skipper Luke Richards is clinical in front of goal. Hinckley have also resigned last seasons young player of the season Isaac Cooper who is a tremendous talent on the left hand side.
One man not playing for the visitors is striker Marco Adaggio after it was announced on Friday 4th that he has left the club.
So why not go down and support your local sides? The only decision that really needs to be made is which side of the divide are you are? There is no sitting on the fence in this fixture, you will definitely get caught in the cross fire.