Hinckley AFC reached the third round of the Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in the club’s history with a 4-1 win at Paget Rangers.
Away at a side from the league below, Hinckley made their divisional advantage count and were three goals up after a dominant first half in which Ryan Seal scored twice and Paul Sullivan once.
Paget pulled one back early in the second half, and although Hinckley were nervy for a spell, they fully deserved their progression which was secured when Seal bagged his hat-trick late on.
Carl Abbott made just one change to his Hinckley side that beat Cadbury Athletic last week, with Tom McCrystal replacing the ill Sean Williams in midfield.
More than a hundred Hinckley fans were in amongst the bumper crowd of 311 – a record for the hosts since they were reformed – and the visiting supporters were entertained early on as their side grabbed hold of the game.
Abbott’s side used the slick 3G surface to their advantage, moving the ball well as they put their hosts to the sword with an eleventh minute goal. Peter Williams jinked past his man before standing a cross up to the far post, which Seal met with a header that the assistant adjudged had crossed the line despite the efforts of a defender.
Sullivan and Seal were constant threats to the Paget backline throughout, and the former saw a free kick well held by Reiss Wagstaff before lobbing him with an effort that landed on the roof of the net.
Approaching the midway point of the half, Wagstaff denied Seal with a low save when Javia Roberts was in space, and the ‘keeper then tipped over another effort from Seal as Hinckley sought the second goal.
And the lead was doubled on 25 minutes. Darren Michael intercepted a through ball but lost his footing, allowing Seal to steal from him and deftly lift a clever effort over the advancing Wagstaff.
Looking to gain a foothold in the game, Paget had their first real spell of pressure on the half hour. In it, Dan Carter latched onto a lofted through ball but fired his first time shot straight at Haydn Whitcombe, before Ross Dempster sliced an effort well wide of Whitcombe’s near post.
Not to be deterred, Hinckley quickly resumed their dominance and after Wagstaff comfortably dealt with Sullivan’s twenty yarder, the same player added Hinckley’s third goal. From a right wing corner, Seal found Sullivan on the corner of the six yard box. The former Chasetown man was allowed to neatly turn, before curling a precise shot in off the post.
For all their first half dominance, Hinckley were sloppy at the start of the second and they struggled to keep the ball for a sustained spell. Five minutes after the break, Whitcombe was called into action by Dean Morris’ long range strike as Paget sought a route back.
And they found it shortly afterwards. Michael was afforded space 30 yards from goal, and unleashed a powerful left foot strike which found the back of the net via the inside of the post.
Although Hinckley still weren’t keeping possession particularly well, Paget didn’t trouble them further. Hinckley could have restored their three goal lead when Wagstaff pushed Lee Thomas’ long range strike around the post, or when Roberts found himself through on goal but could only offer a weak low effort which was comfortably saved.
At the other end, Paget substitute Mark Bellingham – formerly of Hinckley – saw his snapshot well handled by Whitcombe, before AFC secured progression with eleven minutes to go.
Andy Westwood played a cute through ball to Seal, who beat the challenge of Josh McPherson and rounded Wagstaff to slam home his third of the afternoon.
It was Seal’s eighth goal in this season’s FA Vase, and guaranteed Hinckley’s place in the last 64 of the competition, and in tomorrow’s third round draw.
Paget: Reiss Wagstaff, Reuben Wilson, Darren Michael, Dean Morris, Dean Crowley, Josh McPherson, Billy Fagg, Matt Seeley (Craig Evans 54), Ross Dempster (Mark Bellingham 54), Dan Carter, Luke Bradley (Myles Phipps 65). Subs not used: Craig Gasiewski, Rioual Kousseba-Bakala
Goal: Darren Michael (56)
Hinckley: Haydn Whitcombe, Lee Butler, Lee Thomas, James Williams, Jamal Clarke, Peter Williams, Tom McCrystal (Kirtis Monson 46), Ryan Seal, Javia Roberts (Tom Millington 83), Paul Sullivan (Kristian Ramsey-Dickson 65), Andy Westwood. Sub not used: Connor Pugh
Goals: Ryan Seal (11, 25, 81), Paul Sullivan (42)