Gosport Borough sealed their Skrill South safety last night as Dan Woodward’s goal earned a 1-0 win over Hayes & Yeading at the Kingfield Stadium.
After a goalless first period, the talent came off the bench to fire the match-winning effort just before the hour mark.
Alex Pike lauded the effort of his men after the final whistle but insisted he never doubted they would avoid the drop.
The Borough boss said: A lot of people talk about being safe but I honestly thought we’d be safe from when we first started the season.
‘I know these players and I’ve always trusted them.
‘Once we got Wembley out the way I knew that would spur us on.
‘I was with them for four days and I saw that team spirit really grow.
‘What I want to do now is keep winning matches and see where that takes us.
‘If we can get top 10, top nine, and a Wembley trip, that wouldn’t be a bad season for us.
‘We’re top of the form league and it shows the way we’re playing.
‘Last night’s game was more of a battle but we showed good resilience and got the three points.
‘We took our chances and Nathan (Ashmore) was rock solid yet again – making some great saves.’
Pike made two changes to the side that beat Basingstoke 2-0 at Privett Park on Tuesday night.
Adam Wilde replaced Rory Williams and Jack Kerrigan came in for Andy Forbes at left-back.
Dan Wooden, who played on the left wing on Tuesday, partnered Justin Bennett up front.
The hosts had the ball in Nathan Ashmore’s net within 11 seconds but Freddie Ladapo was ruled offside before he stroked home.
Ladapo then crashed a shot at goal from inside the area before the half-hour mark but the Borough keeper saved well to his right.
Shortly after, Sam Pearce handled Luke Williams’ cross on the corner of the box and the driven free-kick was sliced behind by Danny Smith.
Ashmore was called into action eight minutes before the interval – saving well from Ladapo.
And as the half drew to a close, Hayes believed they should have been awarded a penalty after an alleged handball by Pearce.
The Borough defender then popped up at the other end to smash an effort into the sidenetting from a Tom Dunford corner.
Woodward was brought on at half-time to replace Dunford, who had picked up an injury.
But a deflected shot from Williams almost gave the home side the lead – the ball falling just past the post with Ashmore stranded. Gosport then made the vital breakthrough on 58 minutes.
After Bennett’s shot had rebounded to Woodward, the substitute powered the ball home.
Ashmore pulled off a flying save to keep his side in the lead five minutes later – turning Niall McManus’ effort past his post.
Ben Gerring came closest of all for the hosts.
But Ashmore was equal to his speculative effort from 40 yards.
The visitors then saw out a nervous climax to celebrate a seventh win in their last 10 league matches – and Skrill South survival.
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Molyneaux, Kerrigan, Scott, Poate, Pearce, Dunford, Smith, Wooden, Bennett, Wilde. Subs: Sills, Brown, Woodward, Richardson, Prior