Alex Pike made no apologies for his Gosport Borough side’s style of play as they ground out a 1-1 draw in the FA Trophy semi-final first leg with Hawks.
Tim Sills slotted home Borough’s opener early in the second half before Nic Ciardini rifled home the equaliser just before the hour mark in an attritional contest that offers a place at Wembley for the winners.
But on a Westleigh Park pitch that must have barely passed the referee’s inspection, Pike felt his men had to play percentage football to stay in the tie.
He said: ‘I know some people might not have liked our style of play but I have congratulated the groundsman. Not too many other clubs in the region would have been able to get the game on.
‘But when you look at the pitch, how can you play good football on that?
‘I almost sunk on it just walking across it.
‘We had to play a certain way, getting the ball in behind and getting their defenders turning.
‘If that upset people or they thought it was boring football, then tough.
‘The whole point was that we had to play that way. It wasn’t a choice.’
Although it seemed that Borough were the happier of the two teams with a draw, Pike still believes Hawks are favourites to go through in the second leg at Privett Park on Saturday.
He said: ‘We know that Havant & Waterlooville are a formidable outfit, especially on their home turf.
‘It was important we were still in the tie and we’ve completed part of the job.
‘We’re happy with the result but I still think Havant have got to be favourites.
‘If you look at the quality of their side, we had a 20-minute spell where we couldn’t get the ball off them.
‘But we know our strengths and we will see where that takes us.
‘The tie is well-poised and it’s important that it was.
‘If we had repeated the Boxing Day result where we lost 3-0, there would be no point in people turning up at Privett Park on Saturday.
‘Now we’re hoping for 3,000 to come along because it will be a game to remember.’
While the Borough boss was delighted with Sills’ angled finish beyond Scott Bevan in their first real effort on goal, he was less than impressed with his side’s defending as they allowed Ciardini a free shot at goal.
Pike said: ‘It was a quality goal from Tim Sills but it was disappointing to concede the equaliser the way we did.
‘We allowed Ciardini to cut inside and get his shot away.
‘You have to say that it was a quality finish from him but we had doubled up on him and we should have showed him down the line, rather than inside on to his left foot.
Pike, meanwhile, is hopeful his friend’s premonition continues to pan out after seeing the first part of his prediction come true.
The Borough boss explained: ‘A mate of mine in Bournemouth is a barrister and he had a dream that we drew the first leg 1-1 and would win the second leg 2-0.
‘Let’s hope that comes true.
‘I won’t name him just yet because he could have some very angry people from Gosport coming to see him if he’s wrong.
‘But he’s halfway there.’