Hinckley AFC reached the second round of the Isuzu FA Vase with a ninth straight home win beating Cogenhoe United 4-1 at Kirkby Road.
It was the first time in nearly five years that AFC had downed higher level opposition and they were well worth their win on a day to savour for Joe Conneely and his squad.
They were 3-1 up after a pulsating first half, before Lewis Rankin added a fourth after the break to put AFC into round two.
Hinckley handed a debut to new signing Ben Birch at the back and they started brightly on their quest for a fifth consecutive win. Less than four minutes had passed when Matt Dawson beat two men down the right flank and pulled a ball across goal, where Lewis Collins would have tapped in but Cogenhoe defender Luca Purse diverted it into his own net first.
After that goal Hinckley lost their way somewhat and the next half an hour or so was a frantic, end-to-end encounter. Luke McDonald came within inches of levelling when his 25-yard free kick struck the outside of the post.
Though they weren’t at their best, Hinckley still created chances. Collins didn’t connect with Pegg’s header back across goal when a touch would have made it 2-0, while Birch was denied a debut goal by a smart Regan Saunt save and Rankin’s recycled ball was cleared off the line.
But Cogenhoe looked a threat for much of the half and levelled after 17 minutes when McDonald glanced a clever header home from Pharrell Anderson’s pinpoint cross.
Louie Barrett then dragged just wide for the visitors before Hinckley restored their lead by the half hour mark. Pegg and Collins continued their fine link-up in recent weeks as the former squared for the latter to convert from six yards.
But they had an element of fortune to never let that lead slip. Bache spilled Anderson’s long range strike into a danger zone, but made amends with a superb point blank save from Jessi Obeng’s follow-up.
Then, Purse flicked a free kick onto the underside of the bar and Bache punched it away just in time, Cogenhoe’s appeals that it had crossed the line falling on deaf ears.
And having ridden out that spell, Hinckley made their visitors pay in first half stoppage time when Dawson’s flick on found Pegg in the left channel. The forward bore down on goal and looked to mis-hit his strike to perfection as it looped over Saunt.
And where the first half was a breathtaking 45 minutes, Hinckley managed the second much better and barely gave their opponents a sniff.
In fact, they added to their lead after the hour mark when a good move fed Rankin through on goal, and his shot took a deflection over Saunt for Hinckley’s fourth.
That killed the tie off and Pegg nearly added a fifth when he failed to convert substitute James Reid’s low cross from six yards under pressure from Lewis Green.
But four goals was more than enough for Hinckley, who put themselves in the hat for Monday’s draw for the first time in four years.
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Jeremie Agholor (Ben Newport 68), Ben Birch, Luke Wilson, Joe McNulty (Adam Barber 52), Harry Walker-Donovan, Lewis Collins, Chandler Pegg, Lewis Rankin (James Reid 75), Jack Edwards. Subs not used: Tom Weale, Ryan Murphy, Fortune Sibanda, Lewis Padmore
Goals: Luca Purse (4, OG), Lewis Collins (29), Chandler Pegg (45), Lewis Rankin (63)
Cogenhoe: Regan Saunt, Will Bates (Lewis Green 58), Konnor Dixon (Josh Adams 41), Alex Parkes, Luca Purse, Ben Gough, Louie Barrett (Harley Mallard 53), Luke McDonald, Pharrel Anderson, Luke Andrews, Jessi Obeng. Subs not used: Jamie Hall, Callum Farmer, Ciaran Wells
Goal: Luke McDonald (17)