Hinckley AFC fell to a fifth straight home defeat as a goal in each half helped Atherstone Town cling on to a title challenge with a 2-0 win at the Welfare Ground.
The Adders were well worth their win on a blustery afternoon as Ryan Quinn and Jonathan Gould netted either side of half time to give them a fifth straight win.
And they were rarely troubled by their hosts in keeping another clean sheet, as AFC have now only scored once in three home games.
John Ramshaw made one change to his Hinckley side that drew with Coventry Copsewood last week as Alando Lewis replaced Oli Roome up front.
But it was Atherstone who took the ascendancy from early on, and they first threatened when Quinn’s low cross deflected off Tyrone Burton, and Yinka Adebowale had to be alert to save.
At the other end, Hinckley’s best early move came through their left and ended with Louis Hamilton seeing a shot blocked.
But moments like that were few and far between, though Hinckley defended well for the most part and Atherstone didn’t have too many clear-cut chances either.
Ben Ashby’s clean strike from 25 yards flew not far over after Quinn’s cross was half cleared, and Alex Naughton flashed one across the face of goal as they retained the upper hand.
But their opener came ten minutes before the break, when Gould’s deep cross was tapped back across goal by Naughton and Quinn was there to apply the finish from close range.
Naughton then had a second ruled out for handball as the visitors took their lead into half time.
Kicking down the slope after the break, their first chance of the second half came when Liam Cross did well to cut out a through ball, but Naughton picked up on the loose ball and ran through. He tried to round Adebowale, who stuck out a big left hand to claw it away.
As Hinckley sought an equaliser, Grant Ryan fired over from Chad Timson’s cross and substitute Ryan Mills also struck wide from range.
In between, Atherstone twice came close from free kicks – Adebowale holding Mitch Thomson’s set piece before Jake Woolley’s strike bounced awkwardly in front of the ‘keeper, who parried and AFC cleared the loose ball.
But any hope Hinckley had of salvaging something was killed when Gould exchanged a neat one-two with Thomson and fired past the advancing Adebowale to add a second.
Naughton had another ruled out for offside late on and Woolley flashed across goal, but Atherstone had to settle for two as they remain within range of leaders Heather.
Hinckley: Yinka Adebowale, Chad Timson, Matt Jelfs (Ryan Mills 70), Tyrone Burton, Liam Cross, Chris Hollist, Louis Hamilton, Jean Dakouri, Grant Ryan, Alando Lewis, Ryan Murphy (Reece Giles 81). Subs not used: George Warren, Will Dunlop, Ollie Hart
Atherstone: Carl O’Neill, Danny Harris, Jonathan Gould, Nathan Haines, Martin Hutchcox, Adam Bilic, Jake Woolley, Kyle Baxter, Alex Naughton (Joe Obi 80), Ben Ashby (Kieron Brehon 81), Ryan Quinn (Mitch Thomson 61). Sub not used: Darren Eggleton
Goals: Ryan Quinn (35), Jonathan Gould (76)