The Hawks cruised into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-1 win over Southern League Sholing at Westleigh Park.
On a day of record October temperatures, it was the home side who proved too hot for the visitors to handle.
For the first 20 minutes, however, the home side failed to shine in the blazing sunshine, looking distinctly sloppy at times.
But once Steve Ramsey and Lee Peacock scored for the hosts before half-time, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Sholing worked hard but didn’t possess the firepower up front to hurt the Hawks, whose quality came through.
Further goals from Wes Fogden and Craig Braham-Barrett confirmed the Hawks’ superiority after the interval before Sholing grabbed a last-minute consolation goal.
Hawks boss Shaun Gale was happy to see his side negotiate their way past a potential banana skin of a tie.
‘These are games where you can easily come unstuck but we produced a professional job to get through,’ said Gale.
‘We knew if we played to our potential we should beat them, although we didn’t start well.
‘It was a hot day and we didn’t really get going at the start.
‘We lacked tempo but still found ourselves 2-0 up at the break.
‘In the second half we went on and completed the job to get in the hat for the next round.’
The tie began in farcical circumstances, which led to the kick-off being delayed for 15 minutes.
The referee adjudged the camber in the middle of one goalmouth meant the crossbar was four inches below the regulation height and insisted it was put right. Groundstaff frantically dug away the goalline until the referee was happy it met the necessary requirements.
When the game started, the home side produced a careless opening which offered some encouragement to the visitors.
It was the returning Ramsey, though, who sparked the Hawks into life with a 26th-minute opening goal.
Jake Newton’s cross was only half-cleared to the edge of the area and Ramsey drilled his low shot across goalkeeper Mike Hookway and into the bottom far corner of the net.
Four minutes before half-time, Peacock extended the Hawks’ lead with his first goal since the opening day of the season.
Wes Fogden squared the ball to him from the left and Peacock smashed a first-time shot past the helpless Hookway.
Fogden turned goalscorer for the third goal in the 51st minute, firing home the rebound after Ryan Woodford’s effort had been chested off the goalline.
Braham Barrett’s pace had worried Sholing all afternoon and the young winger got his reward on 64 minutes, sweeping the ball into the net after Sammi Igoe’s fierce shot crashed off the inside of the post.
Sholing grabbed a consolation goal two minutes from time, with Dave Marden heading in a corner.
And late on the Hawks were able to send on new striker Ollie Palmer for his debut and he ran hard for the last 25 minutes.
‘It was disappointing to concede but, overall, it was very pleasing,’ said Gale.
‘There is a lot of fun to be had in this competition. The players have worked hard.
‘We have taken a lot of criticism on board, rightly so in certain areas, and now’s the time they should get a bit of praise.
‘On the whole they are a young, inexperienced group and they are trying to do the right things.
‘This moves us a step closer to getting into the first-round proper, which is the target for all the clubs at our level.
‘It is about winning football matches and breeding confidence.’
Hawks: Beazely 7, Newton 7, Ryan 7, Ramsey 7, Pearce 7, Woodford 7, Fogden 8, Barrett 7 (Okus 70m), Peacock 7 (Jones 77m), Igoe 8, Braham-Barrett 7 (Palmer 65m)
n Bognor reached the third qualifying round for the first time in seven years after they won 3-2 at Maidstone United.
However, they had to resist a late fightback from their fellow Ryman south hosts before booking their place in the next round.
Two goals from Terry Dodd and an own goal put the Rocks in charge early in the second half.
But then the Stones hit back with two goals to give the visitors an uncomfortable final seven minutes of the clash.
Earlier the Rocks had been helped by two clangers from home goalkeeper Charlie Mitten as they built up their advantage.
Dodd gave Bognor a 19th-minute lead and was then gifted a second by the keeper’s poor handling five minutes later.
The Rocks were presented their third goal just after half-time when Mitten inexplicably let a back-pss roll under his foot.