Hinckley AFC made it three straight wins in the Midland League First Division with a 3-2 success against Heath Hayes at St John’s Park.
The win moved AFC back into the league’s top four, but they had to do it the hard way by coming from behind after Brad Rolston’s early goal.
But Darious Darkin and Ryan Paddock turned the game on its head before half time, and Ryan Seal’s second half tap in ensured AFC took all three points despite Luke Holmes’ late penalty.
Carl Abbott made three changes to his Hinckley AFC side that beat Stafford Town last week as Mark Williams, Lee Butler and Sean Williams all returned.
But AFC were lacking their usual spark early on and it took Abbott’s side a while to get going. The sides exchanged half chances early on, Andrew Davis firing over for the visitors before Sean Williams forced Mark Wiggins into a reaction save.
Heath Hayes took the lead on the quarter hour mark. Rolston, their biggest threat throughout, dispossessed Paddock in the centre circle and raced one-on-one with Haydn Whitcombe, making no mistake by slotting inside the far post.
Now behind, Hinckley started to control the game more Sam Agar twice had a sight of goal, seeing a powerful snapshot well saved at the near post before chipping comfortably over.
Rolston, though, should have doubled the visitors’ lead on the half hour but scuffed his effort from six yards.
And Hinckley took full advantage, levelling just three minutes later. Wiggins spilled a cross to Darkin eight yards out, and the midfielder saw an effort blocked on the line but it had just enough behind it to creep into the back of the net.
Four minutes before the interval, the game had turned on its head. Paddock rose highest from Butler’s wide free kick to head Hinckley on front.
The start of the second half saw Hinckley have the better of the chances, Sean Williams turning neatly before shooting wide.
Then, the same player was found by a sensational pass from Andy Westwood, but was denied by Wiggins, Seal also saw a shot saved and Agar had an effort headed off the line as AFC sought a third.
The game was a scrappy affair by this point with just a goal in it, but AFC extended their advantage with 13 minutes to play. Westwood broke forward down the left and fed Agar, who crossed low for Seal to tap home from inside the six yard box.
Now with a two goal lead, AFC would have been confident of seeing the game out but Heath Hayes kept pushing and halved that deficit in stoppage time. Chad Degville-Cross’ foul on Rolston gave Holmes a chance from the spot which he didn’t let pass, an emphatic effort beating Whitcombe.
But the visitors couldn’t fashion a chance for a late leveller as Whitcombe comfortably claimed a Ryan Burns header in their only sight of goal, and Hinckley’s third straight win moves them back into the top four.
Hinckley: Haydn Whitcombe, James Williams, Lee Thomas (Chad Degville-Cross 49), Ryan Paddock, Mark Williams, Andy Westwood, Lee Butler (Lewis Riley 88), Ryan Seal, Sam Agar, Sean Williams, Darious Darkin. Subs not used: Tom McCrystal, Mitchell Tomlinson
Goals: Darious Darkin (33), Ryan Paddock (41), Ryan Seal (77)
Heath Hayes: Mark Wiggins, Harry Phillips, Luke Holmes, Harry Scott, Chris Horton, Andrew Davis, Brad Rolston, Jack Partridge (Ryan Burns 64), Kyle Minto, Kory Burke, Luke Wright (Jamie Hawkins 80). Subs not used: Gavin Saunders, Dale Faultless
Goals: Brad Rolston (16), Luke Holmes (91 pen)