Lewis Collins’ brace capped an excellent second half comeback as Hinckley AFC returned to winning ways to regain second place by beating Wednesfield 2-1.
After a sluggish first half, Hinckley turned the game around after the break and Collins’ double was reward for his tireless work up front as he shouldered the burden of Chandler Pegg’s absecnce.
Pegg and Danny Fraser were missing through injuries sustained on Saturday and it was a disjointed first half from Hinckley. They were never allowed to settle by a Wednesfield side who though they had nothing to play for, weren’t thinking of their holidays on the beach with an energetic first half performance.
The visitors went in front after ten minutes, a loose ball on the edge of the area was clinically dispatched by Rhys Horton.
That goal gave Wednesfield a lift as they closed Hinckley down at every opportunity and chances were limited, the best falling to Collins who raced clear of the defence before dragging his shot wide of the far post.
The home fans wanted a response after half time and they got it. Hinckley upped the tempo after the break and had the chance to equalise soon after as Matt Dawson was fouled in the box, but Joe Obi’s penalty was saved by Craig Pain, diving to his left.
Obi quickly redeemed himself, he flicked on the resulting throw at the near post and Collins stole in to convert from close range to level it.
Joe Conneely changed shape and personnel as his side looked for a winner and they started to play with more fluency. Their luck appeared to be out as both Robbie Bunn and Jack Edwards struck the woodwork with long range efforts before the crucial goal came with ten minutes remaining. Bunn’s raking pass picked out the run of Collins who took a touch to compose himself before firing past Pain to give his side the lead.
It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The visitors had one late chance when Horton’s deflected free kick was held by Brandon Bache leaving Hinckley needing one win from their two remaining games at Coventry Copsewood and Smethwick Rangers to secure a home play-off semi-final.
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Jack Beasley, Adam Barber, Harry Walker-Donovan (Sam Ellis 65), Joe McNulty (Lewis Rankin 57), Sam Walton, Matt Dawson, Robbie Bunn, Joe Obi (Isa Abraham 57), Jack Edwards (Jac Redhead 73), Lewis Collins. Sub not used: Tom Weale
Goals: Lewis Collins (53, 82)
Wednesfield: Craig Pain, Connor Parker, Craig Tuckley, Jake Sharman (Jack Dew 65), Sam Paddock, Sam Bennett, Rhys Horton, Nathan Walker, Dimitri Dunkley, Terence Davies (Callum Knowles 84), Oscar Searle. Sub not used: Jake Pain
Goal: Rhys Horton (10)