Nathan Paxton completed a brilliant fightback as Horndean beat Alresford 2-1 in the Wessex League premier division.
Paxton sealed all three points after Tommy Woodward’s 75th-minute goal had cancelled out the visitors’ first-half opener at Five Heads Park last night.
Horndean were on the hunt for glory following a poor run of form which has seen them slide down the table.
And while they got it, the success was far from comfortable.
They could have found themselves chasing the game straight away – but Alresford’s Mike McEnerny failed to convert a glorious chance from the kick-off.
Another quality move opened up the Deans’ again but with the visitors in the throes of celebration – after Warren Bentley poked the ball home – the goal was ruled out for offside.
Having soaked up the pressure for almost 20 minutes, Dave Carter’s side went desperately close through Alex Miroy and Aaron Fennemore.
But they were punished on 30 minutes as Alresford took the lead.
Racing down the slope, the visitors cut the hosts’ defence to ribbons before striker Steve Brown finished in style with a powerful cross-shot.
Fennemore and Woodward then teed up Dan Sharpe as the hosts aimed to level.
But Sharpe’s brilliant left-footed shot was turned aside by Alresford keeper Jason Colins at full stretch.
With Horndean stepping up the pressure in the second half, Colins preserved his side’s slender lead again when he pushed aside a Miroy drive.
Alresford were then unlucky not to double their lead when Andy Mott headed against the bar.
On 75 minutes Horndean levelled through Woodward, who muscled his way in at the near post.
Both sides battled it out for a winner but it was Paxton who duly obliged when he darted in to meet a Miroy cross and clip it home.
Fareham’s home tie with Petersfield Town in the Portsmouth Senior Cup was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
Horndean: Searle, Chatfield, Vince, Hayes, Ayres, Bell, Fennemore, Woodward, Sharpe, Paxton, Miroy. Subs: Perkins, Burney, Warren, Turner, Andrews
Alresford: Colins, Dempsey, Wright, Green, S Mott, Wood, A Mott, Manning, Brown, W Bentley, McEnerny. Subs: Blackburn, J Bentley, Cope, Strange