Hinckley AFC achieved their goal of ensuring a home game in the play-off semi-final, though not in the manner they would have wanted after a 4-1 loss at Coventry Copsewood.
They saw their 13 game unbeaten run ended emphatically, but the only side that could pip them were Droitwich Spa and they suffered a similar defeat at Cradley to confirm a third place finish for AFC.
This was a game that swung on an incident seven minutes from half time when home striker Brad Taylor was upended outside the area by Brandon Bache. Referee Harry Hudson deemed it to be denying a clear goalscoring opportunity and dismissed the Hinckley keeper, who looked distraught.
And a combination of playing a man down on top of their recent schedule was a task too far for Hinckley and the home side used their extra man well after the break to run out comfortable winners.
Up to that incident, the first half was largely scrappy. The sides shared a couple of early goals, Lewis Collins blasted home a penalty after Danny Fraser was fouled whilst shortly after, Ryan Pedley scored a magnificent equaliser, a first time shot from the right hand edge of the area that arrowed into the top corner giving Bache no chance.
As the game appeared to be drifting towards the break, the decisive moment occurred, leaving Tom Weale to don the gloves that were quickly in use as he fielded the resultant free kick from Pedley.
Like Wednesfield on Monday, Copsewood had little to play for but they were clearly determined to end their campaign on a high. They got exactly the start they wanted to the second half as Pedley grabbed his second, racing clear of the visiting defence before placing his shot home.
Hinckley fought desperately to get back into the game, but youthful home keeper Nathan Pearce made two excellent saves to deny Sam Ellis and Collins in quick succession.
And that was to be AFC’s last chance of salvaging something from the game as play switched to the other end. After Weale made a good block in the six yard box, the home side sealed the game as the impressive Bryan Kohyrelon grabbed the goal his performance deserved as he converted from close range.
Though the game was lost, AFC still threw men forward and were picked off by a classic Copsewood counter late on as they broke clear from a Hinckley corner and used the ball well for Chris Wilson-King to round off the home side’s campaign.
Copsewood: Nathan Pearce, Sam Ellis, Danny Lole, Charlie Gordon, Ben Atkins, Jamie Tiff, Jean Patrik-Gomes, Jake Upton, Brad Taylor, Ryan Pedley (Chris Wilson-King 74), Bryan Kohyrelon (Jordan King 81).
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Jack Beasley (Joe McNulty 73), Danny Fraser, Robbie Bunn, Joe Obi, Sam Walton, Lewis Rankin (Adam Barber 57), Tom Weale, Lewis Collins, Sam Ellis, Isa Abraham (Harry Walker-Donovan 45). Subs not used: Ky Green, Nick Brandish.