Hinckley AFC had to show their qualities of resilience at The Pingles as they completed back to back away wins to inflict a first defeat of the season on hosts Nuneaton Griff.
The game had echoes of Saturday’s victory at Bilston – AFC seemed in control of the game when they were 2-0 up, but another red card left them playing with ten men for a long period.
Griff piled in the pressure in the closing stages, but a resolute Hinckley defence, featuring another assured performance from Brandon Bache, stood firm to earn the points.
After a slow start, the game came to life when Hinckley took the lead on the half hour mark, the ball broke to Jack Edwards on the edge of the box and his shot beat the despairing dive of Finn Osborn.
Hinckley doubled their lead ten minutes later, Josh Clews drilled a 25 yard free kick that cannoned off the underside of the bar and former Griff man Harry Walker-Donovan reacted quickest to fire home the rebound.
Griff almost pulled one back just before the break when Bache did well to tip an awkward cross shot from Nathan McGarrity onto the bar, before play switched back to the other end as Mitch Piggon saw his header from Ky Green’s long throw superbly tipped over by Osborn.
The nature of the game changed when Hinckley were reduced to ten men on the hour. Preston Bitemo and Lucinee Donzo clashed whilst challenging for a header, leaving Donzo unable to continue and the AFC youngster was sent off.
The red card gave Griff fresh optimism and they sensed a recovery when McGarrity scored from close range to reduce the arrears with fifteen minutes remaining.
AFC were forced into a couple of defensive re-shuffles with both central defenders, Ky Green and Ben Whitehead, having to be substituted. Griff threw the kitchen sink at them in the closing stages, Lewis Commins behind much of their pressure.
But Hinckley’s patched up defence stood firm. Bache made a couple of important saves when called upon before the game ended on a bad tempered note. Towards the end of 13 additional minutes, Griff’s Liam Kennedy was shown a second yellow card whilst Edwards was sin-binned for his part in the ensuing fracas before the final whistle sounded to the delight, and relief, of the travelling fans.
Nuneaton: Finn Osborn, Ryan Aston, Jevon Fraser-Walters (Alex Naughton 74), Lucinee Donzo (Blaine Angel 60), Ash Gray, Ethan Looker, Dan Edmunds (Archie Gallagher 53), Liam Kennedy, Nathan McGarrity, Joe Miles, Lewis Commins. Subs not used: Luke Alsop, Dale O’Donnell
Goal: Nathan McGarrity (75)
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Danny Fraser, Preston Bitemo, Ky Green (Josh Clarke 83), Ben Whitehead (Joe McNulty 73), Harry Walker-Donovan, Josh Clews (Jordan Holmes 60), Mitch Piggon (Jeremie Agholor 71), Jack Edwards, Adam Barber. Sub not used: Lewis Rankin
Goals: Jack Edwards (31), Harry Walker-Donovan (41)