Craig Westcarr hits hat-trick as Hucknall Town cruise to victory
Craig Westcarr netted an impressive hat-trick as Hucknall Town returned to winning ways with a 5-1 away victory over Hinckley at St John’s Park.
Andy Graves’ side dominated proceedings – particularly for the first 45 minutes – on a very wet afternoon in Leicestershire to move up to fourth place in the United Counties League Division One.
Captain Aaron Short and Joe Ashurst both contributed to the win with goals as well as Westcarr, whose treble took him onto nine for the season so far.
The former Nottingham Forest striker scored his and Hucknall’s first goal of the day only eight minutes after the first whistle was blown. Receiving the ball from Joe Butler just inside the Hinckley area, Westcarr took two touches before powering a shot beyond home goalkeeper Matt Hill from a tight angle.
The same pair combined again midway through the first half, with the same outcome. Butler capitalised on a mix-up between two Hinckley defenders by prodding the ball towards the six-yard box, where Westcarr was well positioned to steer it home.
Just two minutes later the Yellows extended their lead as Short registered his first goal of the 2021/22 campaign. The skipper took full advantage of Joe Ashurst’s floated free-kick delivery by exchanging headers with Grant Ryan, before firing home with his left foot from around 12 yards.
Town were visibly greedy to score more goals in the first half despite already holding a comfortable lead, with Butler going close to getting on the scoresheet in the 35th minute. However, his low effort from inside the area was beaten away by the hosts’ stopper.
Shortly before the interval, Ashurst got in on the act following a clever counter-attack. The attacking midfielder was key to the build-up, as he had teed Westcarr up for a one-on-one with the keeper. When the experienced striker’s shot was saved by Hill, Ashurst was on hand to drive the ball home.
Hinckley made two substitutions at half time in an attempt to somehow claw themselves back into the match, but they found it difficult to break down Hucknall’s stern defence. In the 57th minute, Ryan Slinn – one of the players introduced at the break – tried a shot at goal from a direct free-kick, but his effort was blocked by Town’s defensive wall.
A few moments later, the Yellows were awarded a penalty after Westcarr was brought down just inside the hosts’ box by Jacob Sturgess, and the forward made no mistake from the spot to complete his hat-trick.
Hucknall had the chance to score another goal from 12 yards in the 78th minute when a Hinckley defender was adjudged to have handled Michael Banister’s long-range shot. Ryan stepped up on this occasion, but unfortunately sent the ball over the crossbar.
With one minute of the game remaining, Hinckley found the net through Charlie Evans, but his late strike was simply a consolation for the home side.
Hucknall: Pearson, Maxwell, Kinnerley, Sims (Lamb 70’), Short (c), Jenkins, Butler (Banister 74’), Phillips, Westcarr (Hubbard 82’), Ashurst, Ryan
Subs not used: Brown