Two goals in each half gave Hinckley AFC their seventh win in eight league games with a comprehensive 4-0 victory at fellow high flyers Lichfield City.
It was a game where Hinckley were dominant throughout, and they rarely let their hosts threaten as they leapfrogged Lichfield in the table.
Another brace from captain Ryan Seal took his tally to 28 for the season as he started and finished the scoring, while Paul Sullivan and a Joe Clarke own goal also contributed to the win.
Carl Abbott made just one change to his Hinckley side that beat Paget Rangers in the FA Vase last week, with Jack Farmer making his first start in place of the suspended Tom McCrystal.
On what was a difficult pitch to play football, Hinckley still found a way to play their game and just over a minute had passed when they took the lead. Sullivan’s tireless work saw him win the ball back on the byline, before pulling back for Seal. Twelve yards out, Seal’s strike was far from clean but it was enough to find the back of the net as Lichfield ‘keeper James Lawson fumbled it over the line.
From that moment, Hinckley never let up their pressure and most of the first half was one way traffic towards the Lichfield goal. Javia Roberts found half a yard of space but glanced Lee Thomas’ super delivery wide, before Sullivan shifted onto his left foot only to see his low shot saved.
Sullivan continued to offer a threat up front for Hinckley, and on twenty minutes he danced past a challenge and threaded a ball to Seal, who forced Lawson into a diving save.
Then, the former Chasetown forward saw a shot parried to the edge of the box, where Peter Williams curled wide.
Shortly afterwards, Lawson was fortunate to trap Roberts’ shot between his legs after being caught in no man’s land, before the ‘keeper held Williams’s deflected 25 yard shot.
As Hinckley continued to dominate, Sullivan found the net but was adjudged offside and Williams dragged wide from the edge of the box.
But while the lead was only a slender one, there was always a chance that Lichfield could pull level and they almost did with their first real sight of goal. Jamal Clarke’s error let in Josh Haston, but the forward scuffed his effort and Haydn Whitcombe comfortably saved.
And just two minutes later Hinckley made Lichfield pay for not levelling by doubling their advantage. Thomas cut inside from the left and fed Sullivan, who shifted the ball onto his right foot and saw his shot take a slight deflection on its way into the bottom corner.
After the break – the second half delayed by ten minutes while the floodlights were switched on – the game wasn’t quite so one way but Hinckley still had the better of the chances and added a third goal eleven minutes into the half. Williams fed Thomas down the flank, the left back’s powerful run being turned into his own net by the sliding Clarke.
As Lichfield sought a goal that would give them hope, Whitcombe was twice called into action by Liam Holt long range strikes. The second he could only parry, but substitute Smigielski Pawek blazed the rebound over.
And midway through the half, the win was secured. Williams was involved again, as his cute cross was glanced home by Seal.
After that, chances were few and far between and the game petered out into a comfortable Hinckley win as Abbott’s side recorded their third league clean sheet of the season.
Lichfield: James Lawson, Richard Deavall, Jordan Hunt, Joe Clarke, Dan McLeod, Danny Thurstance, Luke Chapman (Smigielski Pawek 46), Danny Griffiths, Josh Haston, Liam Holt, Matt Tolley. Subs not used: Dean Withers, Chris Bull, Jonathon Ashfall
Hinckley: Haydn Whitcombe, James Williams, Lee Thomas, Jack Farmer, Jamal Clarke, Peter Williams, Lee Butler (Mark Williams 62), Ryan Seal, Javia Roberts, Paul Sullivan (Sean Williams 62), Andy Westwood. Sub not used: Connor Pugh
Goals: Ryan Seal (1, 68), Paul Sullivan (39), Joe Clarke (56 OG)