Hinckley made it back-to-back wins as two goals in quick succession early in the second half earned a 2-1 win over Paget Rangers.
It was two goals in five minutes that proved enough to overcome the challenge of an enthusiastic Paget side who tasted defeat for the first time this season.
It was an open and enterprising game, a youthful Rangers side played with great energy to demonstrate why they’ve enjoyed such a good start to the season, and this new look AFC side had to work hard for their points.
Hinckley began well and should have earned some reward for their early pressure. Harry Walker-Donovan was fouled in the area, but James Reid’s penalty was saved by Tommy Doyle, diving away to his right.
Despite that setback, AFC continued to knock the ball around well but other than a long range effort from Fortune Sibanda that was well saved, they failed to seriously trouble Doyle.
The game opened up as Rangers began to show their attacking threat as the half developed and Brandon Bache was called upon to save Oliver Gethin’s shot from the edge of the area as the half ended goalless.
One sensed there were goals in the game and they soon came after a frantic start to the second half. Firstly, Rangers Fahme Ibrahim’s shot was saved by Bache before a quick fire double put Hinckley in control. Sibanda delivered an inviting free kick into the area, Joe McNulty lost his marker and produced the accomplished finish of a striker rather than a centre half.
And moments later the lead was doubled, a huge clearance from Bache bounced into the Paget penalty area, neither centre half took responsibility so Reid took advantage to nip in and loft the ball home.
Paget still carried an attacking threat, but Bache and his back line defended well and when Rangers did see sight of goal, Ibrahim and Leslie Omorodion couldn’t take advantage of chances that came their way.
A goal then might have made for an intriguing finale but as it happened, the only consolation for the visitors came deep into time added on. Tarique Hunter was penalised for handball in the area and Harry Jackson converted the penalty.
But it was too late to deny three all important league points for Hinckley from a game that whets the appetite for Friday night’s FA Vase encounter between the same two sides.
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Harry Walker-Donovan, Jeremie Agholor (Tarique Hunter 76), Joe McNulty, Luke Wilson, Adam Barber, Ben Newport, James Reid (Emile Beckford 68), Cameron Moore (Lewis Padmore 84), Lewis Rankin (Lewis Collins 68), Fortune Sibanda (Ryan Murphy 70).
Paget: Tommy Doyle, David Anani, Jamie Hyland (Harry Jackson 45), Dominic Ellington, Harry Parker, Oliver Gethin (Jamie Smith 22), MacKenzie Humpreys (Nabiel Iyob 54), Resham Donegan (Abdo Said 62), Leslie Omorodion (Niall Brennan 82), Fahme Ibrahim, Jevanie Robinson.