Hinckley AFC got back to winning ways in emphatic style as they hit six in the second half of an 8-1 win at West Bridgford.
Hinckley put back-to-back defeats behind them with an assertive display at Regatta Way, and rarely looked like surrendering their lead that was given to them early on by Nick Brandish.
Fin Gaynor’s header on the stroke of half time was the only blot on Hinckley’s copybook that denied them a first clean sheet in six outings.
Courtney Belford rung the changes from the defeat to Radford ten days ago and his side didn’t take long to start playing their football.
They weren’t always fluent throughout the first half on a hard pitch, but went close within seven minutes when Charlie Evans’ goalbound header was cleared off the line by Dylan Fitzpatrick.
The hosts had their moments, firstly when Renaldo Smith flashed wide on the angle, but Hinckley had more of them and took the lead on ten minutes. Nick Brandish swung in a cross that caught out ‘keeper Garry Doran and sailed inside the far post.
It was perhaps the moment of fortune that Hinckley needed after two tough encounters, and they doubled their lead by the midway point of the half.
They still needed Ben Whitehead to put in a goalsaving tackle at the other end to preserve that lead, but shortly afterwards Evans’ hold up play allowed Joe Cairns to drill one beneath Doran.
Jack Edwards, Evans, Cairns and Ben Vallance all went close again before the break as Hinckley probably should have scored more in the first half.
But the home side would have felt the same – Gaynor dragged wide of a gaping goal from 12 yards before the same player halved their deficit by heading home a corner in first half stoppage time.
That could have set the nerves going among the Hinckley players but they put them to bed with a dominant second half display.
Dom Alleyne’s clever lob came close to adding a third but the back-pedalling Doran tipped over.
But they didn’t have to wait much longer and a blistering spell of four goals in 12 minutes from their two highest scorers put them further ahead. Leading scorer Evans blasted home the rebound after Cairns’ shot was blocked, before fellow hotshot Ryan Harkin netted four minutes after coming on with a fantastic crisp finish following a neat move.
The duo then went again – Evans tapping home Vallance’s deflected cross at the far post and Harkin showing wonderful feet to dance past Doran and slide home.
Both came close to their hat-tricks but would have to settle for a brace apiece – Harkin then unselfishly setting up Jeremie Agholor for Hinckley’s seventh and the winger’s first since returning from injury.
Fellow sub Lewis Rankin nearly joined them on the scoresheet but his effort was cleared off the line after rounding Doran.
And Vallance bagged a first goal for the club in injury time, escaping his man to convert a wide free kick.
It wrapped up a scintillating second half and provided a confidence boosting win ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown with leaders Kimberley Miners Welfare.
West Bridgford: Garry Doran, Lee Stevenson, Dylan Fitzpatrick, Jack Havron, Josh Burkitt, Cole Maule, Matt Glover, Liam Harper, Renaldo Smith, Adrian Anumba, Fin Gaynor. Substitutes: Tom Spencer, Theo Madekurozwa, Archie Corrall
Goal: Fin Gaynor (45+4)
Hinckley: Matt Hill, Harry Sawyer, Ben Vallance, Nick Brandish, Luke Wilson, Ben Whitehead, Jack Edwards, Liam Cairns, Charlie Evans (Lewis Rankin 81), Joe Cairns (Jeremie Agholor 67), Dom Alleyne (Ryan Harkin 58). Subs not used: Tyson Knight, Ryan Slinn
Goals: Nick Brandish (10), Joe Cairns (22), Charlie Evans (57, 63), Ryan Harkin (61, 68), Jeremie Agholor (87), Ben Vallance (92)