Hinckley extended their winning sequence to five games but having scored 21 goals in their previous four victories, they had to settle for a single strike as they emerged from a tough encounter with the points.
Brady Middleton scored the priceless early goal, but thereafter it was an attritional game punctuated by lengthy stoppages, an afternoon for the artisan rather than the artist.
Hinckley defended well, Ky Green and Jack Beasley continue to forge a solid partnership, especially in the second half, and the returning Brandon Bache made a couple of crucial saves when called upon as AFC completed back to back clean sheets.
It was a gloomy afternoon in the shadow of Shrewsbury’s Croud Meadow Stadium, and the blustery wind did little to help the game as a spectacle. After the sides traded early half chances, Hinckley took a 13th minute lead with the best move of the game. Preston Bitemo spread the play wide to Danny Fraser on the left and the skipper’s searching low cross was converted first time by Middleton.
That proved to be a rare moment of quality in the half where both sides struggled to get to grips, though United missed a great chance to level just before the break when Cody Rimmer drove a low cross into the danger area, but Eric Mansah blazed over from six yards.
Tom Weale came close to doubling the lead early in the second half, his dipping, swerving 25 yard shot was superbly tipped over by Max Williams in the home goal before Shawbury started to put AFC under pressure. But Green and Beasley (before he left the field with a head injury, just as he did at Shawbury last season) relished the battle as Shawbury fought to get back on terms.
Bache made a couple of smart saves, keeping out Rimmer’s header before beating away Reece Jacobs’ fierce shot whilst at the other end, Isa Abraham’s effort was well stopped by Williams.
AFC fans had to endure a lengthy period of stoppage time after the numerous stoppages before they could breathe a sigh of relief as the final whistle sounded to confirm three vital points.
Shawbury: Max Williams, Marcus Dillon (Harry Woodburn 64), Brendon Price, David Howells, George Taylor, Manny Williams, Cody Rimmer (Sam Mensah 84), Jack Howe, Eric Mansah (Ablay Sowe 71), Seth Ellis (Pat Udoh 87), Reece Jacobs. Sub not used: Jesse Osei
Hinckley: Brandon Bache, Matt Dawson, Danny Fraser, Preston Bitemo, Ky Green, Jack Beasley (Harry Walker-Donovan 87), Lewis Rankin, Tom Weale, Brady Middleton, Deshon Carty (Joe Cairns 71), Adam Barber (Isa Abraham 63). Sub not used: Shay Durkan
Goal: Brady Middleton (13)