LEE BRADBURY insists the Hawks can take a lot of pride from their performance despite losing 1-0 at Dartford in the Vanarama National League South.
A second-minute strike proved enough to condemn the visitors to their first league defeat in 12 games.
After falling behind so early the Hawks went on to dominate the top-of-the-table clash.
‘I am delighted with the performance we put in and the players can come out of it with a lot of confidence,’ said the manager.
‘The only thing missing was the result.
‘We were disappointed with the start but for the next 88 minutes we were on top.
‘For long spells in the second half in particular we had them pinned back.
‘We sent cross after cross into their area and forced corner after corner.
‘Their goalkeeper pulled off a couple of good saves and we had a couple of misses that we would normally expect to put away.
‘To do that against the top-of-the-league team on their own patch shows we can take anyone on.
‘Nine times out of 10 our performance would have been enough to win us the game.
‘It was a performance that would have beaten every other team in the league.
‘To their credit Dartford defended stubbornly and were well organised as you would expect from the team at the top.’
It was 1-0 when Alfie Pavey flicked the ball on and Tom Murphy fired in a shot that deflected off the boot of Jordan Rose and past Hawks keeper Ryan Young.
In the second half the visitors went close on a number of occasions.
On 59 minutes Rose fired wide and the then Jason Prior headed over.
Rose saw his header tipped onto the woodwork by the home keeper and Prior put the rebound over the bar.
Substitute Matt Tubbs also sent an effort narrowly wide late on.
‘The players have to take a lot of credit,’ said Bradbury.
‘Our players have to keep embracing the situation because we have got ourselves into a great position.
‘They know that we have played a lot worse and won.
‘After falling behind we really got after them.
‘Their manager gave us the compliment of saying we were one of the best sides they have come up against.’
HAWKS: Young, Williams, Harris, Woodford, Rose, Tarbuck, Carter (Lewis 66), Stock (Hayter 78), Fogden, Prior, Robinson (Tubbs 60).
Bognor exited the FA Trophy with a 2-1 defeat after extra-time against Leyton Orient at Nyewood Lane.
Macauley Bonne put Orient ahead after both teams had been reduced to 10 men.
Jimmy Muitt scored a superb late equaliser to force extra-time and an equally impressive Josh Koroma strike won the game for Orient.