Ten man Hinckley shrugged off Monday’s defeat as they bounced back in fine style to take victory over Bilston Town in an eventful game at Queen Street.
AFC raced into a two goal lead before Ky Green was sent off before the break, but they managed the game superbly after the interval.
Helped considerably by Brandon Bache’s penalty save at a crucial time, their victory was hard-earned but fully deserved.
Hinckley made four changes, including first starts of the season for the two Jacks – Beasley and Edwards – and the former quickly made his mark on the game. Inside two minutes, Danny Fraser delivered an inviting corner from the right and Beasley stole in front of his man to convert.
That lead was doubled on the half hour, Edwards was bundled over on the edge of the area by Levi Simms and Mitch Piggon stepped up to score his first league goal for the club.
Hinckley were cruising at this point but the nature of the game changed seven minutes before half time. Green caught Ethan Pearce late, the referee deemed it worthy of a red card and AFC were down to ten.
Courtney Hunter-Belford and Joe Conneely had to make a trio of substitutions either side of half time as they utilised their resources well to overcome the red card and injuries.
They sent their team out after the break knowing the next goal was critical, and shortly after the re-start, Hinckley grabbed it. Another Fraser corner led to Beasley being manhandled in the box and with Chandler Pegg replacing Piggon at the break, he also assumed penalty taking responsibilities and duly converted the spot kick.
Thereafter, Bilston had much possession without creating any significant chances, indeed AFC came close to extending their lead as Pegg was twice inches away from the target and Fraser’s goalbound effort was headed to safety by former Hinckley defender Ben Kendrick.
Bilston kept plugging away and gave themselves hope on 82 minutes, Simms heading a corner across goal for Kendrick to steal in and convert on the far post.
That goal gave them fresh impetus and they had a great chance to really get back into the game with three minutes of the 90 remaining when Beasley was penalised for a foul in the area. Another home goal now, with ten minutes of time added on to come, would have given Bilston a real sense they could claim something, but Bache guessed correctly and made a superb save diving low to his left to keep out Jake Short’s spot kick.
The home side sensed their race was run and their frustrations were summed up when Simms lashed out at Pegg off the ball to earn himself a red card and an away victory was assured.
Bilston: Kai Lloyd, Haydn Hall, Aaron Weston (Adam Nazir 46), Mitch Evans, Ben Kendrick, Levi Simms, Ethan Pearce, Angelo Franco (Lee Wood 68), Sam Yankson (Soms Sibanda 68), Jake Short, Eesa Sawyers. Subs not used Khenan Barrett, Ethan Clarke.
Goal: Ben Kendrick (82)
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Danny Fraser, Preston Bitemo, Ky Green, Jack Beasley, Josh Clews (Ben Whitehead 38), Jordan Holmes (Harry Walker-Donovan 44), Mitch Piggon (Chandler Pegg 46), Jack Edwards (Josh Clarke 75), Adam Barber (Lewis Rankin 90+2)
Goals: Jack Beasley (2), Mitch Piggon (31 pen), Chandler Pegg (47 pen)