Hinckley AFC survived a late scare to make it six wins in a row with a 3-2 victory over Chelmsley Town.
On a blustery afternoon, Hinckley used the conditions to their advantage in the first half and led through Reece Giles and Isa Abraham both netting their first goals for the club.
Tom Weale added a third and Hinckley looked destined for the win, but two Chelmsley goals either side of a red card for Sam Lockley left AFC clinging on at the end.
Courtney Belford handed a first start of the season to Ky Green after recovering from injury, while Drew Kear and Dan Hoskins also returned.
And AFC started brightly with the wind at their backs using the pitch slickened by the morning rain, and just five minutes had passed when they broke the deadlock. Visiting ‘keeper Tom Allsop raced out to deny Lockley, but the loose ball fell to Giles who side-footed home from the edge of the box.
Then, Lockley fed Abraham who couldn’t sort his feet out in time and Allsop made the save, before the same player did add a second minutes later. It was another scrappy ending but followed a good move as Callum Martin’s fine cross picked out Lockley, who was twice denied by Allsop before Abraham slid home on the angle.
Green headed over and Lockley forced another smart save from Allsop as Hinckley sought a third before the break to make their dominance really count.
Chelmsley, though, threatened themselves on the stroke of half time but Matt Hill saved comfortably from Jeorge Smith at his near post in the visitors’ only effort of the half.
Smith had the first effort of the second half too, a well-struck effort from range over the top, but Hinckley soon bagged another.
Playing into the wind after the break, AFC set themselves for a different sort of half but scored their third before five minutes of it had been played. Again, it wasn’t the most pleasing on the eye but Lockley’s wind-assisted set up looped into the air and Weale’s clever back header found the top corner.
Lockley almost turned provider for a fourth time but his pull back was missed by Lewis Rankin when a fourth goal was there for the taking.
But the visitors have often showed that they never lie down, and as the half wore on they started to get more of a foothold in the game. They threw centre back Clark Wells up front and got one back on the hour. A disputed free kick proved costly as Hill couldn’t hold it and Kane Auld hooked home the loose ball.
Wells then went close but the complexion of the game shifted further in Chelmsley’s favour with 20 minutes to play when Lockley was dismissed for a high tackle.
Despite that, AFC almost wrapped the game up when Kear arrowed one from 25 yards that was inches away from being a goal of the season contender, but crashed against the bar.
And there was no finer of example of how football is a game of fine margins, when a minute later James Brown cracked a stunning strike of his own that went just the right side of the crossbar and Chelmsley were back within a goal.
To Hinckley’s credit, they restricted Chelmsley’s chances late on and Hill wasn’t tested further as AFC held on for a record equalling sixth consecutive league win.
Hinckley: Matt Hill, Drew Kear, Callum Martin, Reece Giles, Ky Green, Luke Edwards, Lewis Rankin (Luke Richards 63), Tom Weale (Chris Lloyd 80), Sam Lockley, Dan Hoskins, Isa Abraham (Jack Edwards 69). Subs not used: Ben Kendrick, Danny Harris
Goals: Reece Giles (5), Isa Abraham (21), Tom Weale (50)
Chelmsley: Tom Allsop, John Daley, Sam Aldhouse, Kane Auld, Clark Wells, Nick Ellis, Sam Jeeves (Tom Ellis 78), Jeorge Smith, Jordan Wade, Dean Morris, James Medford (James Brown 69). Subs not used: Corey Solomon, Rob Ellis, Peter Maguire
Goals: Kane Auld (61), James Brown (80)