Hinckley AFC emerged from a superb game with a vital 4-2 victory over Droitwich Spa that sees them leapfrog their opponents and into the play-off positions.
Joe Conneely’s side looked comfortable when they were three up with twenty minutes remaining before The Saltmen pulled a couple back to set up a nervy finale.
But Isa Abraham’s stunning late strike settled the jitters around Kirkby Road and the home supporters went home happy.
The game was a great watch, a credit to Step six and Droitwich certainly played their part in the afternoon’s entertainment but the quality of Hinckley’s finishing, typified by Abraham’s effort, was the telling factor.
AFC soon got their noses in front. After eleven minutes a flowing move ended with Lewis Rankin feeding Danny Fraser on the left hand corner of the area and he drilled home a clinical finish on his home debut.
And they had a great chance to double their lead midway through the half. Chandler Pegg was felled in the area by ‘keeper Matt Oliver but though Lewis Collins struck his spot kick well, Oliver guessed correctly to pull off a great save.
Droitwich looked decent going forward and Alec Hill, making an accomplished debut in the Hinckley net, did well to beat away Ollie Thompson’s fierce shot from the edge of the area before the home side increased their lead just before the break. Collins made amends for his spot kick as he raced clear of the Spa defence from halfway before unselfishly squaring for Pegg to convert.
AFC went further in front five minutes into the second half, this time Pegg raced clear of a static defence and pulled the ball back to Rankin who took a touch and composed himself before curling his precise shot into the top corner.
Droitwich fought hard to get back into the game, Hill again denied Thompson, saving at full stretch before recovering well to smother the rebound.
But the visitors found a route back into the game when James Lemon’s looping header at the far post dropped into the net.
And it was game on ten minutes from time when Lemon was fouled on the edge of the box and Luke Molloy converted the penalty.
The atmosphere became tense as we awaited a final twist but, to the relief of most of the crowd, it came in Hinckley’s favour. Abraham’s pace saw him chase a ball into the corner, and as he was urged to keep it there, he instead beat his man before cutting into the area and rifling an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net – a stunning strike to settle an enthralling game Hinckley’s way.
Hinckley: Alec Hill, Ben Whitehead, Adam Barber, Jack Edwards, Joe McNulty, Ben Newport, Matt Dawson, Lewis Rankin (Harry Walker-Donovan 60), Lewis Collins (Isa Abraham 67), Chandler Pegg (Tom Weale 86), Danny Fraser. Subs not used: Fortune Sibanda, Lewis Padmore.
Goals: Danny Fraser (11), Chandler Pegg (44), Lewis Rankin (51), Isa Abraham (91)
Droitwich: Matt Oliver, Jack Brighton, Lewis Phillips, Luke Molloy, Matt Hunt, Scott Baiden-Smith, Charlie Tilley (Sam Hurdman 62), Haydn Morris (Keatley Charles 68), Ollie Thompson, James Lemon, Perry Moss. Subs not used: James Deeprose, Connor Collins, Andy Crowther.
Goals: James Lemon (70), Luke Molloy (80 pen)