Matt Dawson’s winner deep into stoppage time secured a dramatic victory as Hinckley completed a Shropshire double with back-to-back wins from their longest journeys of the season.
As at Shawbury last Saturday, Hinckley had to roll up their sleeves and work really hard to earn their points, this time against a Bridgnorth side that had improved beyond recognition from their defeat in the reverse fixture a couple of months ago.
Yet again, Tom Weale was a key figure as he marked his 100th Hinckley appearance with another memorable game. He began up front and finished the match at centre back after Ky Green limped off, scored a penalty and created the winner with a wonderful assist – just another day at the office for the big man.
Early on, Joe Cairns was denied by the legs of home keeper Scott Becker – a duel that would prove a feature of the game – before Hinckley took the lead. Danny Fraser was clattered by Becker, who was booked, and Weale coolly converted from the spot.
The first half wasn’t a great spectacle, too many lengthy stoppages disrupted the flow, but as the game developed, Bridgnorth demonstrated they are a tougher proposition these days. After the returning Matt Hill did well to hold onto Luke Morris’ smart shot on the turn, the home side levelled in first half stoppage time. Morris did well to keep the ball under control on the bobbly surface as he raced clear through the inside right channel before applying a composed finish to level the game up.
The second half was a much better watch and, kicking down the slope after the interval, Hinckley sought to get back in front. Cairns was again denied twice by Becker who beat away his shot before a truly outstanding save as he tipped over Cairns’ sweetly struck powerful shot when a goal seemed certain.
At the other end, Morris again raced clear but this time Hill stood up well to block before Becker again denied the visitors as he beat away Weale’s free kick from the edge of the box.
Hinckley kept pushing for a winner, but time appeared to be slipping away from them as a draw seemed the likeliest outcome. The management team urged them to be patient as “one more chance will come” and, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, it did. The vision of Weale created it, he pinged a delightful, searching cross-field pass that picked out the run of Dawson on the right flank and the full back did what he does best as he rifled home his shot to the delight of the fans behind the goal.
There were still another five minutes of added time for those fans to endure before, at 5.05pm, referee Daniel Simmons called time, a little harsh on the home side perhaps but reward for Hinckley’s never-say-die attitude.
Bridgnorth: Scott Becker, George Marsh, Cameron Lyness, Jason Pike, Bruce Harper (Kian Hyde 35), Charlie Swingwood, Chris Sterling, Ben Wood (Kaz Danilion 57), Callum Briggs, Luke Morris, Jon Millinchip (Ryan Hadley 76). Subs not used: Jack Snoddy, Mac Lee.
Goal: Luke Morris (45)
Hinckley: Matt Hill, Matt Dawson, Adam Barber, Preston Bitemo, Ky Green (Deshon Carty 89), Jack Beasley, Harry Walker-Donovan, Tom Weale, Joe Cairns (Jack Edwards 67), Declan Somel, Danny Fraser. Sub not used: Shay Durkan.
Goals: Tom Weale (13 pen), Matt Dawson (94)