HORNDEAN signalled their intent to climb the Wessex premier division table with a 3-2 win over Hamworthy United at Five Heads Park.
Striker Chamal Fenelon scored twice and Louie Castles was also on the mark.
Substitute Nathan Paxton played a key role in two of the goals as his introduction proved a masterstroke by manager Dave Carter.
The boss is now looking for them to steer away from the Wessex premier relegation battle and make themselves comfortable at the top table.
Carter said: ‘Now, perhaps we can build on this result as we still need to make up some ground and reach a more realistic mid-table position – where I believe we belong, as things stand.
‘What is important is to carry on picking up points and make sure we don’t get involved in the dog fight at the bottom of the league, towards the end of the season.
‘I have a quality bunch of lads here now who are as determined to be playing at this standard again next season.
‘And I’m as ambitious as they are.’
Carter’s men took just 20 second-half minutes to turn what had looked like a home defeat into a well-deserved 3-2 victory.
And but for a lack of fortune for skipper Tom Chapman, who hit the bar and had an effort cleared off the line, Horndean could have won by more.
To their credit, the Hammers had bossed long periods up to the interval.
They grabbed the lead when Joe Shovelton fired an opening goal from close range, with just 10 minutes played.
But Horndean took charge of the play when Paxton climbed off the substitutes’ bench to add punch to the forward line.
With his first touch, he freed Castles, who turned his marker inside out before thundering an equaliser high into the net.
Almost before Hamworthy had time to recover their composure, Horndean added a second.
Fenelon worked some space with a clever twist, before shooting across keeper Andy Knights, high into the net.
Things got even better for Carter’s men when Dan Hayes and Paxton combined to find Fenelon, who rolled the ball into the empty net for 3-1.
Hamworthy ensured a tense finish when they bagged a goal back for 3-2.
But Horndean held on in some comfort despite late pressure.
‘We made it difficult for ourselves near the end but our second-half display alone was enough to give us the win we deserved,’ added Carter.