Hinckley AFC continued their 100% home record as two first half goals earned a 2-0 win at home to Paget Rangers.
It was another case of getting the job done for Hinckley, who never looked like surrendering their lead given to them by Ky Green’s header – his second in two games.
Debuant Dimitri Dunkley doubled the lead with a fine solo goal, and Hinckley were rarely troubled after half time as they kept another clean sheet.
Courtney Belford made no fewer than six changes to the side beaten by Stafford Town last week. New signings Dunkley and Jake Brown both came straight in after joining from Romulus and NKF Burbage respectively, while Jake Healy returned. Ty Belford, Greg Webb and Ashley Gray all made their first starts of the season.
Both sides took time to ease into the game, and ten minutes had passed before the first chance. From Green’s long throw, Paget cleared only as far as Bekir Halil whose low drive from the edge of the box forced a good reaction save from Bradley Hayward.
Paget’s closest showing of the opening stages saw Owen Ward’s low effort comfortably saved by Belford, before the game burst into life around the half hour mark.
It started with Halil forcing Hayward into action again, tipping wide a 25-yard-free kick – but he was powerless to prevent the resulting corner finding the back of the net as Green rose highest to nod home Luke Delaney’s corner.
Paget almost hit straight back in similar fashion, but Hinckley had Halil to thank for being on the post as he hacked Michael Palmer’s header off the line.
That was as close as the visitors came, and Hinckley ended the half the stronger. Dunkley’s mazy run ended with a clean 25-yard hit saved, before Luke Richards put Healy’s cross wide.
Hinckley didn’t convert their chances at Stafford last week, but they weren’t guilty of the same against Paget and Dunkley netted his first for the club five minutes before the break. It was a goal all of his own making, twisting his way past Myles Brown before cutting inside Dean Crowley and poking home from inside the box to double his side’s lead.
Like the previous home game against Coventry Copsewood, it gave Hinckley a two-goal half time lead as they set about a third win of the campaign.
They threatened to add to it after the break, but Richards’ glancing header from Delaney’s free kick was saved, before the same player scuffed his six-yard effort after Dunkley’s good work down the left, the rebound falling to Brown whose shot was deflected wide.
And, aside from when substitute Dan Carter put Callum Burston-Keeley’s cross wide from close range when he should have tested Belford, Hinckley were largely comfortable as they defended well and limited Paget to long-range efforts.
Indeed, it was Hinckley, through substitute Lewis Commins, who came closest to another goal – though he was twice denied by Hayward, first from a powerful effort after being put through by Halil, then by a speculative strike which the ‘keeper held.
Dunkley also threatened as the game entered stoppage time, but couldn’t connect with an ambitious backheel from eight yards.
Although Belford was called into action for the first time in the second half when he held Carter’s effort at his near post, Hinckley were never troubled as they got back to winning ways.
Hinckley: Ty Belford, Greg Webb, Ashley Gray, Bekir Halil, Ky Green, Curtis Townley, Dimitri Dunkley, Jake Brown, Luke Richards (Michael Wright 71), Luke Delaney (Lewis Collins 86), Jake Healy (Lewis Commins 61). Subs not used: Chad Timson, Sam Aldhouse
Goals: Ky Green (27), Dimitri Dunkley (40)
Paget: Brad Hayward, Luke Hinson, Myles Brown, Daniel Cullen (Reece Beacon 54), Dean Crowley, Joseph Drake-Cervantes, Callum Burston-Keeley, Michael Palmer, Daniel Elwell, Owen Ward (Dan Carter 60), Billy Fagg (Ashley Brown 60). Subs not used: Aaron Harper-Bailey, Cody Mullan