Hinckley AFC produced a late, late show to snatch the points as Harry Walker-Donovan struck the only goal of the game deep into time added on to beat Cradley Town.
It looked like being a frustrating afternoon for Hinckley who came up against a dogged, disciplined Cradley defence that looked like they’d done enough to earn a point but Walker-Donovan had other ideas.
Hinckley enjoyed long spells of possession throughout the game as Cradley were content to sit deep but AFC couldn’t break down their visitors. To their credit, Joe Conneely’s men kept going right to the end and got their reward – eventually.
The tone of the game was set in the early stages. Marley Sweenie-Rowe did well to get to the left hand byline and pulled the ball back for Lewis Rankin who struck the base of the post. The rebound fell to Ryan Murphy who seemed certain to score but Nana Frimpong produced a superb save at point blank range.
As the visitors fought a rearguard action Frimpong was a commanding presence in their goal, saving from Rankin and Walker-Donovan as the half ended goalless.
Hinckley continued to press after the interval, but were continually thwarted by some determined defending as Town’s back line blocked and tackled well. Frimpong again proved a worthy last line of defence as he denied Kai Gibbs and Lewis Padmore when they saw sight of goal.
As the game entered its closing stages, AFC became increasingly desperate and it almost cost them. Cradley created a couple of opportunities on the break, the best of them falling to Declan Bibb who fired over when well placed.
As supporters were making their way towards the exits contemplating what looked like a goalless draw, Hinckley nicked it. Ben Newport fed the ever industrious Walker-Donovan on the left hand edge of the area, he ran across the top of the box, got the ball onto his favoured right foot and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner.
It yielded a huge sigh of relief around Kirkby Road and secured a fourth straight Hinckley win as they head into September.
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Harry Walker-Donovan, Marley Sweenie-Rowe (Jeremie Agholor 45), Ethan Baynham (Jack Beasley 87), Luke Wilson, Adam Barber, Ben Newport, Ryan Murphy (Lewis Padmore 62), Kai Gibbs (James Reid 55), Lewis Rankin, Fortune Sibanda (Joe McNulty 86)
Goal: Harry Walker-Donovan (92)
Cradley: Nana Frimpong, Tom Baker, Declan Bibb, Lleyton Gould, Darren Whitley, Kye Lemathy (Jack Tallack 45), Jake Crackett, Kieran Price, Kane Showell, Matt Pinder, Tyler Douglas (Kwaku Hinnch 78). Subs not used: Adrian Patterson, Fadel Traore, Anthony Umoh