Alex Pike admitted his Gosport Borough side were given a scare after they came from behind to book their place in the Hampshire Senior Cup semi-finals with a 5-2 win over Winchester City.
The Wessex League side took an early lead and also fought back for an equaliser at 2-2 before Borough striker Lee Wort’s late double helped secure his team’s passage into the last four of the competition.
But the Borough boss felt his side could easily have been in real trouble in his 500th game in charge before they eventually took command.
Pike said: ‘They gave us a real scare and we could have been 3-0 down.
‘I don’t think it was complacency. I made seven changes and when players haven’t played, they need time to know one another’s game.
‘We were okay once Lee Wort turned up 20 minutes from the end. I think he was on his way from Sholing for the first 70 minutes.
‘But he showed what a quality forward he is and took his two goals really well.’
Gosport started the game brightly with Adam Wilde’s rasping drive palmed over by Shaun Weetch but Winchester looked a threat every time they went forward as Borough struggled for any kind of rhythm.
City deservedly took the lead after a neat build-up culminated with Warren Bentley’s clever dummy allowing Adam Roberts to slot past Nathan Ashmore.
Borough were back on level terms just past the midway point of the half as Rory Williams delivered a perfect cross for Paco Saez to bullet home his header from close range.
But Pike was clearly unhappy with his side and hauled off new right-back Curtis Da Costa to be replaced by Dan Wooden before the game was even half an hour old.
City should have gone ahead early in the second period when the impressive Bentley failed to convert a golden chance with a header.
And they were made to pay moments later when Williams met Wilde’s corner with a smart diving header to edge Borough ahead.
While Pike’s side perhaps felt the job was done, Bentley was then left totally unmarked to head home an equaliser five minutes later to level the tie.
Although the Wessex League side had more than played their part in an entertaining contest, Wort’s quickfire double settled Gosport’s nerves.
Tom Dunford found him to round the keeper with 13 minutes left and then the striker arrowed home a crisp shot just two minutes later from the angle.
Substitute Matt Paterson had the final say one minute from full-time as he stepped inside a couple of tired defenders to fire home a ruthless finish after Wooden picked him out with a deep cross.
And Pike has now set his sights on silverware.
He said: ‘I give this competition a lot of credence and I do see it as a priority, whereas a lot of other clubs don’t.
‘We haven’t won it since the 1980s and I want to give our fans something to celebrate every year.
‘I watched the final last season and I was quite jealous.
‘Winning becomes a habit and we all know we’ve had a blip in form so hopefully this can give us a spark.’
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Da Costa (Wooden, 28min), Pearce, Matthews, Forbes, Saez, Ramsey, Dunford, Wilde (Benham, 79min), Wort, Williams (Paterson, 82min). Subs not used: Poate, Bennett