Havant coach Ady Adams praised his side’s passion and will to win under difficult circumstances following the 3-1 victory over Oxford Hawks on Saturday.
The Barncroft Way outfit led their penultimate game of the South League premier division one season 1-0 at the break thanks to James Speke.
They got over the line with further goals from Maciej Janiszewski and Mike Deller-Merricks.
However, the visitors had six first-team players unavailable through injury or work commitments, meaning they travelled with a bare 11.
Those missing included Ollie Nail (hamstring), Duncan Marsh (calf), Tim Davenport, Jamie Whitehouse, Adam Bloomfield (all working), Jonathan Pickett (flu) and Tomasz Nowicki (hamstring).
Given the circumstances, Adams was pleased with the win and the attitude shown by the players.
He said: ‘It wasn’t a game for the purists. It was more about our heart, will to win and determination.
‘There was nothing to play for other than our pride and it showed a lot of character and heart to get the result.’
The game started off as a stalemate, with both sides worried about conceding territory.
With the two teams down to the bare bones, it was all about conserving energy for the second half.
Havant could have been two or three goals up before eventually breaking the deadlock through Speke.
They found more joy after the break, scoring twice more thanks to Janiszewski and Deller-Merricks.
With five minutes to go, Oxford took the unusual step to take off their goalkeeper and play a kicking back.
However, that decision backfired spectacularly, as Havant scored even before the goalkeeper had walked over to his dugout and he had to go back on the pitch straightaway.
Adams said: ‘We missed three or four very good chances.
‘But equally, as we got tired, the Hawks had some outstanding opportunities and they will be disappointed they didn’t take them.
‘This match was all about commitment, organisation and passion and getting a result in tough circumstances.’
There were good performances by Tomek Bruml, at right half, Chris Smith, at centre half, and goalscorer Speke, who put in a lot of work in midfield. Meanwhile, Old Georgians’ victory over London Wayfarers secured the league title and promotion with two games to spare.
Adams added: ‘Fair play to Old Georgians. They have got a game plan and a way to play and it’s been very successful.
‘They have lost once and drawn once and when a team does that, it makes it difficult to compete.’
Second-placed Havant host Wayfarers in the final game of the campaign at Havant College on April 2 (1.30pm).