For the second time this season, Hinckley AFC struck late to grab the derby day points at Nuneaton Griff’s expense.
The game appeared to be drifting towards a goalless stalemate as it entered the final minute, but Ben Kendrick lashed home a loose ball from Danny Harris’s free kick, and AFC claimed their third successive victory.
It was a highly competitive, occasionally niggly but largely scrappy game. Honours were just about even in the first half, with Hinckley enjoying more possession after the break, but the final ball was lacking in quality all too often to threaten a well organised Griff backline.
The visitors almost took an instant lead, straight from the kick off they attacked and Joe Miles’ effort was saved one handed by Elliott Taylor.
But from that beginning, the game reflected the bleak conditions as the sides cancelled each other out. Chances were at a premium, the best moment of the half came when some superb close control from Brady Middleton created himself a chance out of nothing and he twisted and turned a couple of defenders but his low shot was at the near post by Joe Salisbury.
Griff came close again at the end of the half, ex-AFC winger Alex Lock drove a ball across the face of goal with no one able to get a touch before it was recycled and another man who started the season with Hinckley, Lewis Collins, had a header well saved by Taylor.
The second half had a better tempo to it as AFC enjoyed good spells of possession but some determined defending by the well organised visitors meant they were restricted to long range efforts – Middleton and Mikkel Hirst narrowly missing the target.
Only once did they get behind the Griff defence when Luke Richards and Lewis Commins combined well, the latter drilled a ball across the face of goal but substitute Harris couldn’t convert on the far post.
Though they spent much of the half on the defensive, the visitors, and Collins in particular, were always a handful. They had a couple of goals chalked off for offside and Collins might have done better when he blazed wide when well placed on the edge of the area.
Hinckley survived that spell of Griff pressure and mounted a late assault to try and grab the points. Dimitri Dunkley delivered a cross that was met by Middleton’s header but former AFC defender Ash Gray headed off the line and that appeared to have secured a point for his side.
But in the 90th minute, Harris delivered a free kick from the right, it wasn’t cleared and Kendrick reacted quickest to force home the loose ball through a forest of legs to snatch victory and spark great celebrations amongst the players.
Hinckley: Taylor, Brindley, Hirst, Giles, Green, Kendrick, Commins (Dunkley, 65), Halil (Harris, 57), Richards (Smith, 77), Thomson, Middleton. Subs not used Brown, Townley
Goal: Kendrick (90)
Griff: Salisbury, Martin, Davis, Aston, Gray, Perry, Proudlock, McEwan (Moore, 77), Collins, Miles, Lock (Waters, 86). Subs not used Bell, Williams, Wilkinson