LEE BRADBURY praised the Hawks for standing strong and showing their class to dismantle a physical Billericay Town 5-0 at Westleigh Park.
The home side ripped apart the Essex visitors with a commanding second-half performance which left the home fans singing in the rain.
Jason Prior converted two penalties as he netted a hat-trick.
And substitute Marley Ridge completed the rout late on.
This was after the Hawks went into half-time one up courtesy of a fortunate own goal.
Bradbury was delighted with the way his team didn’t allow the big powerful visitors to bully them.
They stood up to the task and then showed their superior quality on the ball.
‘It was a really good performance and pretty comprehensive in the end,’ said Bradbury.
‘That was probably our best display so far, scoring five goals and keeping a clean sheet against a side that have been on a good run.
‘We kept our discipline well and competed physically.
‘That was something that we knew that we would have to do from front to back.
‘Billericay try to bully teams with their physicality and they are good at it.
‘They try to force you to make mistakes and in the first 20 minutes I thought we played into their hands a little bit.’
It was the Hawks who got the little bit of luck needed to make the 36th minute breakthrough.
Winger Ben Swallow cut in from the right and fired in a speculative long-range shot.
Visiting goalkeeper Jack Giddens had it well covered until Alex Stephenson sliced his attempted clearance into his own net.
Sometimes you need a little bit of luck admitted Bradbury.
‘We have been working with Ben Swallow getting him to do that,’ said Bradbury.
‘The old saying goes “if you don’t buy a ticket you won’t win the raffle”.
‘In the first half our decision making in and around the box wasn’t good enough.
‘We spoke about that during half-time and tightened a few things up.
‘As a result we were a lot better.’
Prior extended the Hawks lead on 57 minutes tucking in the rebound after the goalkeeper had pushed out his own shot.
The striker then polished Billericay off with two emphatic penalties in the space of four minutes.
Both were rammed high into the net following a handball and a foul on George Barker.
Young substitute Ridge added an incisive late strike following good work from Wes Fogden and Andreas Robinson.
The win takes the Hawks into today’s draw for the next round which includes National League South clubs for the first time.
‘If we were to draw Gosport it would be a fantastic local derby,’ said Bradbury.
‘But we will take anyone at home.’
Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Woodford, Molyneaux, Williams, Lewis (Ridge 76), Robinson, Barker, Swallow (Fogden 65), Rutherford (Paterson 65), Prior. Att: 256