A pulsating second half comeback saw Hinckley overturn a 2-0 half time deficit to beat Wolves Sporting 3-2 and maintain their winning momentum.
Two down at the break, Joe Conneely gave his players the hairdryer at the interval, and it had the desired effect as his team responded positively for a result that owes as much to character and spirit as it does to ability.
Chandler Pegg was at the heart of the fightback, once again he demonstrated he is more than just a prolific goalscorer. He bagged the first goal to start the revival and was at the heart of the other two in a stirring second half display that had echoes of wins at Kimberley and Aylestone last season.
And yet one point, let alone three, seemed a distant prospect after a first half in which Sporting took a two goal lead and Hinckley could have few complaints.
They fell behind on eleven minutes, a long ball sailed all too easily over the visiting defence, and Luke Francis stole in behind them before applying a clinical finish inside the far post.
The home side continued to look lively up front and doubled their lead on the half hour with a strange goal. Arman Khoshkhoo was coming back from an offside position and when he made a movement towards the ball, AFC waited for a flag that didn’t come. Brandon Bache raced from his box as they made a mess of clearing their lines and the loose ball fell to Khoshkhoo who scored into an empty net from 20 yards.
There was further woe for the visitors just before the break. Jeremie Agholor was clattered by a robust challenge from Callum Wood who was booked, and Agholor played no further part in the game.
It was hard to see a way back for Hinckley but their second half response was terrific. They increased the tempo and began to apply some pressure on the home goal and after home keeper Ben Wood scrambled Joe McNulty’s header wide with a degree of difficulty, AFC found a way back into the game seven minutes in. Lewis Collins pressurised the home defenders and created the chance for Pegg who netted, despite Wood getting a good hand on the ball.
They levelled on the hour, Pegg was fouled in the box by Ellis Jones, who was booked, and Collins smashed home the spot kick.
It was anyone’s game now as neither side was content to settle for a point and went all out to win it. Bache made a couple of excellent saves, tipping over Khoshkhoo’s long range shot before blocking well from Stefan Walker as the home striker bore down on goal.
Hinckley also came close, a raking cross field pass from Adam Barber found Collins on the right hand edge of the area and his first time shot fizzed just wide of the far post before Pegg was denied a second by Wood’s save at his near post.
The final twist came with Hinckley’s winner eight minutes from time. It owed much to the persistence of Pegg on the left flank before he pulled a ball across the face of goal to pick out the run of Jack Edwards from midfield and he made no mistake to the joy of the visiting fans behind the goal.
Sporting had one final chance to salvage something from the game but Jacob Gwilt could only head a right wing cross over when well placed before the final whistle blew to confirm a superb win for Hinckley who closed the gap on the leaders on a day when the top three were all beaten.
Sporting: Ben Wood, Luke Georgiou (Kieran Francis 86), Sam Reuben, Nathan Walker, Ellis Jones, Mitch Tomlinson, Lopes Massampo, Callum Wood (Jacob Gwilt 72), Arman Khoshkhoo, Jay Sangha (Tom Harley 80), Luke Francis (Stefan Walker 52). Sub not used: Aidan Cox
Goals: Luke Francis (10), Arman Khoshkhoo (33)
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Jeremie Agholor (Adam Barber 44), Ben Birch, Luke Wilson, Joe McNulty, Harry Walker-Donovan, Lewis Collins (Reece Jacobs 76), Chandler Pegg (Tom Weale 83), Lewis Rankin (Fortune Sibanda 53), Jack Edwards. Sub not used: Lewis Padmore
Goals: Chandler Pegg (52), Lewis Collins (62), Jack Edwards (83)