THE HAWKS found their clinical touch as they saw off Bognor 4-1 at Nyewood Lane to progress in the FA Trophy.
Tony Taggart (2), plus Steve Ramsey and Scott Jones, were on the mark for Lee Bradbury’s side.
It was a strong performance and one the Hawks needed with manager Bradbury emerging as a contender for the vacant Pompey job in recent days.
But the boss is determined not to let any distractions get in the way of the task in hand.
He was pleased with his side after they avoided a potential upset against their Ryman League premier division neighbours.
Bradbury said: ‘I have a job to do here at the present time and I am not going to allow myself to take the eye off the ball.
‘The players knew they needed to be more ruthless in both penalty areas and they did that.
‘When that happens it makes a massive difference.
‘The lads are buzzing and it is nice to have a winning feeling.
‘It has to be a building block for us and the players can take a lot of confidence from it.
‘Bognor are a good little side but we didn’t let them play.’
After three successive league defeats, the victory came as a welcome boost for Bradbury.
He was full of praise for the application shown by his side.
‘We knew Bognor like to play football and we came here with a game plan to deal with it,’ said Bradbury.
‘The lads put in a decent shift and worked hard for each other.
‘Most importantly, they stuck to the game plan to produce a pleasing result.
‘We pressed them high up the pitch and after a good start I felt we went from strength to strength.
‘It takes a lot of energy to play the way we played so our fitness levels and the way we applied ourselves was encouraging.’
Hawks took the lead with a penalty in the third minute.
Ollie Palmer’s shot from inside the area struck the outstretched arm of defender Louis John and Ramsey fired his spot-kick into the bottom corner.
The home side were level on 19 minutes.
Jake Newton’s knock-back into the arms of keeper Clark Masters was deemed to be deliberate.
The free-kick, from just four yards out, was touched to James Crane who smashed his low shot into the net.
Within three minutes the Hawks were back in front.
Ramsey crossed for Taggart to thump his header into the far corner.
Hawks had a let-off when Ashley-Paul Robinson’s shot bounced back off the far post with Masters well beaten.
Then, in the closing stages, with Bognor pushing for an equaliser, the Hawks countered to add two more goals.
Taggart knocked the ball into an empty net after Craig Stoner pushed out a Palmer shot and substitute Scott Jones made it four in stoppage time.
Hawks: Masters 7, Newton 7, Butler 7, Bailey 6, Harris 7, Woodford 7, Ramsey 8 (Ryan 67mins) , Hamilton-Forbes 6 (Hinshelwood 45mins – 7), Palmer 7, Moss 6 (Jones 82mins), Taggart 8.