A late strike from substitute Matt Paterson earned the Hawks an unconvincing 2-1 Ryman League premier division win at basement boys Met Police.
It was a third successive victory for the Hawks, who came from behind to win after Alfie Rutherford’s equaliser.
But visiting boss Lee Bradbury was quick to admit that his side made hard work of it.
‘In the first half we were nowhere near our best and they made it hard for us,’ he said.
‘They posed us a lot of threats going forward and caught us cold early on.
‘On a positive note, though, we hit back straight away to get back in it.
‘But in the first half we were nowhere good enough with our fitness levels and the way in which we passed the ball.
‘In the second half we were braver on the ball and in the tackle – with people taking more responsibility for their jobs
‘In the end, we ground out a win which was a good sign for me.’
The game started in dramatic fashion with both teams scoring in the opening four minutes.
After two minutes Jerome Federico raced past Rory Williams on the right and Charlie Collins met his cross to score with a glancing header.
Almost immediately, Jason Prior cut in from the left and squared the ball to Rutherford who drove the ball into the net from 12 yards.
Wes Fogden then twice went close in the space of five minutes before limping off in the 21st minute to be replaced by Bradley Tarbuck.
Met Police’s main threat came from set-pieces and twice Rob Bartley headed over from corners.
The lightning pace of Federico was continuing to cause problems, though, and Hawks goalkeeper Ryan Young was on hand to deny him with his legs at the end of the first half.
The hosts should have been ahead within minutes of the restart as Collins scuffed wide from six yards.
It was uninspiring fare from the visitors who needed to find a lift from somewhere.
Rutherford almost provided it when he skipped past two defenders in the area only to drill his angled shot over the bar.
The Hawks made a double change in the 66th minute, sending on Matt Paterson and James Hayter in place of Prior and Rutherford.
A minute later the visitors had a let-off when Matt Lane’s deflected effort bounced back off the crossbar.
The Hawks breakthrough came in the 83rd minute when they took the lead for the first time – and with it all three points.
Goalkeeper Luke Egecombe beat out a fierce Swallow shot and super-sub Paterson knocked in the rebound.
n OTHER RESULTS: Ryman League premier division: Bognor 2-0 Staines; FA Cup preliminary round replay: Fareham Town 4-0 Verwood Town; Hampshire Senior Cup: United Services 1-1 Cowes Sports (4-5 on pens); Horndean 3-1 Team Solent; Baffins Milton 1-1 Christchurch (6-7 on pens); Romsey Town 2-4 AFC Portchester