Luke Richards and Steve Hart both scored twice as Hinckley AFC made it six games unbeaten with a 5-0 win at Bolehall Swifts.
It was AFC’s first game for a fortnight after a weather-enforced break, but they quickly slotted back into gear with a comfortable win at Rene Road.
Hart started and finished the scoring, either side of a brace for Richards on his 100th game for the club and a first Hinckley goal for Kai Tonge.
Richard Lavery made one change to his Hinckley side that beat Coventry Alvis two weeks ago, with James Williams returning at right back in place at Abdul Muhammad.
Bolehall had an early chance when Adam Clarke blazed over from the left channel, but Hinckley quickly asserted their grip on the game and took the lead on the quarter hour.
Josh Burniston found Tonge, whose clever flick sent Hart through on goal. AFC’s leading scorer this season rarely passes up those opportunities, and he slotted past the advancing Phil Smith to put his side ahead.
When Bolehall threatened, Clarke was at the forefront and Williams had to be alert to race across and deny him a shot at goal as Bolehall, the league’s second lowest scorers, sought an equaliser.
But once Hinckley doubled their lead on the stroke of half time, there was no looking back. James Jepson’s wide free kick was expertly placed between defence and goalkeeper, allowing Tonge to sneak in at the far post. Tonge struck the bar from close range, but Richards was on hand to nod home the rebound and mark his 100th game for the club with a goal.
In truth, the second on the stroke of half time dashed any hope Bolehall had and Hinckley were in control throughout the second period. In the first chance after the break, Hart stood a cross up to the far post, where Richards was denied by Smith’s point blank save.
From the resulting corner, Clarke could only head clear as far as Tonge 12 yards out, whose first time goalbound shot was cleared off the line by Matt Sylvester.
All that came in the first five minutes of the half as Hinckley started the second half brightly, adding a third goal on 50 minutes. Hart fed Jepson down the left, the midfielder’s cross into the six yard box headed home by the unmarked Richards.
As AFC continued seeking more goals, Richard Munday’s header from Jepson’s free kick was cleared off the line.
And the fourth goal did arrive just after the hour. Josh Burniston’s vision allowed him to thread between centre back and full back, picking out Tonge who met it with a first time strike which resulted in his first Hinckley goal via the inside of the post.
Playing with confidence four goals to the good, Hinckley moved the ball well but the goal of the night came from Hart with a quarter of an hour to play. A Bolehall attack broke down and substitute Jonathan Bukasa found Hart just inside the Bolehall half. The forward drove goalbound and got the the byline despite being forced wide. Looking to cut back in onto his right, the striker left a defender for dead before drilling across goal and inside the far post.
Looking to further improve their goal difference, Hinckley had chances for more late on. Tonge found himself through on goal but was denied by Smith, before Burniston shot wide on the rebound and the Bolehall ‘keeper also denied Bukasa diving away to his right.
The win moved AFC within a point of fourth-placed Atherstone as Lavery’s side continued to close the gap on the sides above them.
Hinckley: Carl O’Neill, James Williams, Mitchell Tomlinson (Nick Goold 63), James Jepson, Richard Munday, Richard Lavery, Kai Tonge, Josh Burniston, Luke Richards (Jonathan Bukasa 67), Steve Hart, Josh Willis (Jack Sutherland 53). Sub not used: Marley Hamilton
Goals: Steve Hart (16, 75), Luke Richards (44, 50), Kai Tonge (64)