Hawks Ladies are now one win away from promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League after demolishing South East Combination runners-up Norwich City Ladies 5-1 in a play-off semi-final.
Played at the neutral venue of Enfield, the Hawks got off to a flier and took the lead in the third minute when skipper Laura Oakes scored with a superb header from a corner.
Five minutes later they went two up when midfielder Kaylee Schumann-Edwards got on the end of a Becki Bath corner and sent in a ball that forward Jess Lewry struck home.
Norwich’s dangerous forward Paige Shorten ran down the middle and beat Kim Hier but shot straight at Hawks keeper Sadie Blakely.
Fine defending from Bath and Oakes kept Norwich’s attack at bay, while for the Hawks, Stacie Murray and Chloe Ranger missed with speculative efforts.
The Canaries pulled one back on the stroke of half-time after Blakely was adjudged to have brought down onrushing Norwich striker Chelsea Garrett in the box and Shorten converted the penalty.
The Hawks came out determined after the interval and a two-goal lead was restored in the 48th minute when Bath looped a beautiful 30-yarder over keeper Holly Clarke and into the top corner of the net.
On 67 minutes, Charley Wilson sent in a wonderful reverse pass for Ranger to run on to and sidefoot past Clarke for the Hawks’ fourth.
Then, with one minute left, Bath pounced on an attempted clearance and fired the ball back into the goalmouth where Wilson tapped in number five.
Hawks Ladies now face Gillingham Ladies this Sunday at Cheshunt FC (2pm), with a place in next season’s FA Women’s Premier South the prize.
That would see them come up against neighbours Pompey.
The Hawks’ director of ladies’ football, Trevor Brock, said: ‘This Sunday will hopefully be the culmination of five years hard work which has seen a fairytale rise from the County League to be just 90 minutes away from National League football.
‘The team have really got the bit between their teeth and are absolutely determined to deliver on our dream.’