LEE BRADBURY praised his impressive Hawks as they beat Blue Square Bet Premier side Braintree 2-1 in the FA Trophy at Cressing Road.
Christian Nanetti and Stefan Bailey scored to put Hawks into the second round and earn a trip to Grimsby Town.
Bradbury felt his Blue Square Bet South side showed plenty of quality and also dug in when needed.
He said: ‘I thought we deserved our win.
‘We played really well, particularly in the first half.
‘In the second half, when they threw everything at us, we showed great application and desire.’
The Hawks boss was forced into several changes from the side who went down 2-1 to Bromley in the league on Saturday.
Eddie Hutchinson moved from midfield to central defence to cover for suspended captain Ryan Woodford.
Steve Ramsey was ruled out with flu and striker Ryan Moss was unavailable.
Jake Newton, Nanetti, Perry Ryan, Sahr Kabba and Chris Arthur were all given starts.
Braintree threatened first when Dan Sparkes whipped a dangerous free-kick across the face of goal.
But it was the Hawks who found the net in the 15th minute.
Nanetti struck from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Sam Habergham as he worked his way across the front of the area.
It was a rash challenge from the defender – suitably punished by Nanetti.
Keeper Danny Naisbitt got a hand to the winger’s low spot-kick but couldn’t keep it out.
Ollie Palmer had an effort blocked and Kabba fired narrowly wide as Hawks grew in confidence.
The pace of Kabba and Arthur tormented the hosts and Hawks tightened their grip on the coveted Grimsby trip when they made it 2-0 on 35 minutes.
Arthur burst past the defence on the right and his deep cross was perfect for Stefan Bailey who headed the ball in at the far post.
The visitors escaped when Sean Marks flashed a header narrowly over the bar before the break.
But Braintree got themselves back into the tie seven minutes into the second half.
Kenny Davis worked himself into a good position and his low shot, at the second attempt, was turned in by Marks.
Suddenly the Hawks were rocking as Davis had a 20-yard strike tipped over by Clark Masters.
Then Dan Holman’s looping header was cleared off the line via the underside of the bar by Newton.
Bailey flashed a shot wide of the post at the other end and Tony Taggart replaced Arthur in the 69th minute as the Hawks began to stem the tide.
Naisbitt prevented Palmer from giving the visitors more breathing space with a good save, before Hutchinson twice blocked well to secure the excellent victory.
Braintree: Naisbitt; Paine, Habergham, Wells, Bailey-Dennis, Symons, Davis, Sparkes, Mulley, Holman, Marks.
Subs: Peters, Daley, Sheppard, Hunt, Cowan.
Hawks: Masters; Newton, Butler, Bailey, Harris, Hutchinson, Nanetti, Ryan, Palmer, Kabba, Arthur. Subs: Hinshelwood, Taggart, Jones, Thompson.
Referee: D. Rock.