Hinckley AFC won on the road for the first time since November as Ryan Mills’ header earned a 1-0 win at Heath Hayes.
Mills scored for the second time in three games early in the game to settle a hard-fought and keenly contested game – AFC’s first away win since beating Rocester in November.
But Hinckley were indebted to George Warren for a second half penalty save which ensured they got a long-awaited three points on the board.
Manager John Ramshaw made two changes to the side beaten by Uttoxeter Town last week – Matt Jelfs returning and Matt Nutt making his first start.
It meant there were six members of the Under 18s side in the starting eleven, but the youthful side put in a real shift throughout.
They started brightly, and came close just eight minutes when when Grant Ryan and Louis Hamilton linked up well, and a good move ended with Ryan Murphy shooting over.
But just two minutes later, they took the lead when Ryan’s pinpoint cross from the right was headed home by Mills.
AFC have led on a number of occasions this season and relinquished them too often, but this time the travelling fans were rewarded with three points.
Heath Hayes had their moments though. Nathan Pickering headed straight at Warren from Josh Bates’ free kick, before Joe Clarke headed over when he should have hit the target as Hinckley took their lead into the break.
Their best chance, though, came three minutes after half time when Pickering was fouled by Warren in the box. The ‘keeper made amends, though, with a fine save from Sam Melia’s resulting spot kick to keep his side ahead.
After that, it was Hinckley who looked the more likely and came close to extending their lead when Ryan’s 30 yard shot took ‘keeper Jon Clough by surprise, and he scrambled it around the post.
Then, Clough dealt well with Mills’ 25 yard strike with a full stretch save, before Ellis Chambers thought he’d rifled home a second, and his first senior goal, only for the referee to blow for a foul.
But Heath Hayes rarely threatened after their penalty against a well-organised Hinckley defence, with Warren rarely tested.
But it was a real team effort from the young side and the long awaited win was well appreciated by the supporters at full time.
Heath Hayes: Jon Clough, Sean McDaid, Josh Bates, Mike Murray, Josh Small, James Moore, Todd Sherwood, Dan Evans, Sam Melia (Dan Fox 80), Joe Clarke, Nathan Pickering. Subs not used: Harry Phillips, Francino Francis
Hinckley: George Warren, Chad Timson, Chris Hollist, Tyrone Burton, Matt Jelfs, Ellis Chambers, Louis Hamilton, Ryan Murphy, Grant Ryan, Ryan Mills, Matt Nutt (Ryan Robinson 58 (Will Dunlop 86)). Subs not used: Ollie Hart, Callum Carey, Joe Glover
Goal: Ryan Mills (10)