Hinckley AFC survived a late scare to ensure League Cup progression with an impressive 3-2 win at Lichfield City.
After beating league leaders Brocton on Saturday, AFC made it two straight wins with another success at a side flying high in Division One.
Ky Green’s fifth of the season gave Hinckley an early lead, and the game looked to be wrapped up when Dimitri Dunkley and Isaac Cooper scored in quick succession with less than 20 minutes to go.
But James Taylor and Keenan Palmer ensured it would be a nervy finish, though Hinckley held out to reach round two.
Courtney Belford made six changes to the side that beat Brocton as Green returned from injury, Dunkley was back off holiday and Sam Reuben, Mark Williams, Luke Shorthouse and Michael Wright also started.
And Green, Hinckley’s top scorer this season from centre back, took little time to get back on the scoresheet as he nodded home Cooper’s corner to break the deadlock early.
Lichfield reacted well to the goal and had more of the play, but Hinckley were never too threatened, and it was largely from range that the hosts came close.
Luke Childs fired over, Jordan Evans tested Ty Belford from which Joel Powell’s rebound was ruled out for offside and Max Black hit one wide – all from outside the box.
Meanwhile, Wright was denied by a good last ditch challenge as Hinckley sought to extend their lead which they took into the break.
Lichfield continued their neat build up play into the second half and came closer, but were denied by Liam Cross’ block and Belford’s save from Taylor.
But Hinckley still had their moments and Cooper had a fierce free kick beaten away by Adam Jenkins.
It was an end-to-end start to the second period, which continued when Lichfield broke and Evans’ pull back found Luke Adams, who forced a strong save from Belford at his near post.
Cooper then called Jenkins into action again as the frantic spell continued, before Dunkley put one wide.
It felt like the next goal would hold the key, and Hinckley got it when Dunkley made the most of his earlier sighter, shifting onto his left and firing one into the bottom corner to double the lead after good work from Jake Brown.
And it then looked to be game over soon after when Jenkins scuffed a kick straight to Cooper, who bore down on goal and made no mistake in netting his first goal of this spell with the club.
That should have been game over, but Lichfield rallied late on and sensed a chance of saving the game when Taylor capitalised on slight indecision in defence and slotted home with seven minutes to play.
And when Palmer raced through on goal and made no mistake to add a second, Lichfield believed.
They had their moments to snatch an equaliser, but last ditch defending denied them a clear cut chance and Hinckley held on to reach the next round.
Lichfield: Adam Jenkins, Luke Adams, Jordan Evans, Jack Arrowsmith, Luke Wright, Max Black, Dan Sheppard, Andy Davis (Danny Thurstance 72), James Taylor, Luke Childs (Dan Griffiths 46), Joel Powell (Keenan Palmer 78). Substitutes: Dan McLeod, Levi Henderson
Goals: James Taylor (83), Keenan Palmer (89)
Hinckley: Ty Belford, George Brindley, Sam Reuben, Ryan Ball (Jake Brown 62), Ky Green, Liam Cross, Dimitri Dunkley (Baillie O’Reilly 74), Mark Williams, Luke Shorthouse (Luke Richards 69), Michael Wright, Isaac Cooper. Sub not used: Ash Gray
Goals: Ky Green (6), Dimitri Dunkley (72), Isaac Cooper (75)