Hinckley AFC made it two wins on the bounce as Jean Dakouri’s only goal of the game settled a tight encounter at Studley.
AFC got back to winning ways with Saturday’s win over Hereford Lads Club, and made it back-to-back victories with a hard fought win at the Beehive.
The encounter was always likely to be settled by one moment of class, and it was Dakouri who provided it 15 minutes from time to settle the game in AFC’s favour.
Manager James Jepson named the same side that started Saturday’s win, with Callum Willimont returning to the bench after injury.
The stiff breeze blowing from one end of the ground to the other meant the game wasn’t a classic, and chances for few and far between for the most part.
Sean Brain was Studley’s biggest threat throughout, and he showed a sign of his capabilities early on when he ran at Chad Timson and pulled a ball back – only for Hinckley to block Janny Dinanga’s effort.
The same player then cut inside shortly afterwards before blazing wide.
After that, Hinckley had the better of the few first half chances that were on offer, though neither ‘keeper was called into too much work – apart from when Tom Hayward had to be on hand to deny Jordan Wilson’s powerfully struck effort on the angle.
Dakouri then sliced over from range as most of the game continued to be played in the midfield, neither side gaining a stronghold at any point.
Studley’s only effort on target during the half fell to Dan Carter, whose far post header lacked power and looped up for George Warren to catch comfortably.
As Hinckley sought an opener before the break, Wilson fired goalbound from the left channel which Hayward saved comfortably via a deflection and the half ended goalless.
Kicking with the wind after half time, the home side shaded the play with Hinckley looking to counter – though they had to do it without Wilson, who went off injured at the break after a challenge late in the first half by Dave Edwards.
Brain fired into the side netting as the home side tried to start on the front foot, before the same player’s cross got caught in the wind and a rapidly back-pedaling Warren tipped over at full stretch.
That was the young ‘keeper’s most strenuous work of the game and he did well to keep the hosts breaking the deadlock again when Brain got in behind and saw his goalbound lob tipped over in similar fashion.
Apart from that, the hosts were restricted to efforts from outside the box as Warren made comfortable saves from long range strikes by Jamie Clarke, Brain and Dinanga.
For Hinckley, Nkosi Mzungwana had a swerving effort palmed away by Hayward, and Dakouri fired the rebound into the side netting.
As the sides continued to exchange half chances, Simon Fitter’s free kick flew narrowly over the bar and Dakouri’s curled over on the angle as it looked increasingly likely that one goal would settle it.
And that goal came with 15 minutes to play when Dakouri strode forward and unleashed a fine strike into the top corner from 20 yards.
All ten of Hinckley’s outfield players gathered in the corner to celebrate, as they gained belief of winning their first league win in five.
Hinckley have surrendered leads on a number occasions this season, but that never looked like being the case here While Studley had plenty of possession late on, they never threatened the Hinckley goal as AFC defended manfully.
Indeed, it was AFC who came closest to a second when Sam Belcher pulled back to Louis Hamilton, who curled against the post. Dakouri’s follow up was saved by the diving Hayward.
That was as close as either side came to a second goal, and Hinckley were comfortable in seeing out their win.
Studley: Tom Hayward, Robbie Ager (Kieron Donnelly 84), Matt Edwards, Simon Fitter, Dave Edwards, Jordan Jones, Jake Donnelly, Janny Dinanga (Joe Adams 84), Jamie Clarke, Dan Carter (Steve Roche 64), Sean Brain. Subs not used: Sam Penfold, James Walker
Hinckley: George Warren, Chad Timson, Chris Hollist, James Jepson, Joe McLaughlin, Jason Lee, Louis Hamilton, Sam Belcher, Jordan Wilson (Callum Willimont 46), Jean Dakouri, Nkosi Mzungwana. Subs not used: Oliie Hart, Matt Jelfs, Thabang Dube
Goal: Jean Dakouri (76)