Bradley Bubb notched a double to keep Hawks on the FA Cup glory trail with a deserved 2-0 win over Wingate & Finchley at the Harry Abrahams Stadium.
The Ryman League premier division hosts proved dangerous opponents – but Lee Bradbury’s men produced an efficient performance to keep them at arms length.
Their cause was helped by a horrendous gaffe by home goalkeeper Bobby Smith, which gifted the Hawks an early lead.
Bubb’s second goal on the hour mark killed off the north London outfit’s hopes and sent the Hawks into today’s fourth qualifying round draw.
‘We dealt with them well and did a good job in the end,’ said boss Bradbury.
‘They went for it in the first half and you could see why they are going well in their league.
‘Fair play to them, they took the game to us and gave us a real test.
‘It was nice to get the early gift of a goal which helped settle our nerves a bit.
‘The second goal was the killer blow for them and it was a fair result in the end.’
Home keeper Smith will have nightmares about the Hawks’ third-minute opener for the rest of the season.
There was little danger when Perry Ryan hoisted a speculative ball upfield for Bubb to chase.
The keeper, however, raced out of his area to head clear, only to completely miss the ball.
Bubb was left with the easiest of chances to run the ball into the unguarded net.
To their credit, the hosts bounced back and put the Hawks under pressure with some neat passing football.
Both teams showed good attacking intent without troubling either of the two goalkeepers.
‘We had chances before half-time to score again on the counter-attack but failed to take them,’ said Bradbury.
‘Our decisions in and around their area were not good enough.
‘The longer that went on the more nervous it was for us.
‘It was a stalemate for long periods but I was pleased with the professional way we saw the game out.’
The visitors’ killer second goal arrived at the end of a quick counter-attack.
JJ Hooper sent a perfectly weighted pass through to Bubb who ran on and finished well past the advancing goalkeeper.
‘Ultimately we are in the hat for the next round which is the important thing.
‘I think we can play better but you have to give them credit for that.
‘They had done their homework and tried to nullify the way we play.
‘In the second half we kept the ball better and ended up with another clean sheet.’
The Hawks are offering fans free entry for tonight’s Portsmouth Senior Cup tie.
They take on Southsea United at Westleigh Park (7.45pm).
The hosts are expecting to field a mixed side of academy and first-team squad members who are not currently in the starting line-up.
However, it has been rumoured Bradbury could put his boots on for the clash.
Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Dutton, Harris, Cummings, Ryan, Donnelly, Ciardini (Blanchett, 84mins), Bubb (Connell, 73mins), Hooper (Mullings, 73mins), Huggins. Att: 292.