Super sub Roarie Deacon fires Hawks into the last 32 of the FA Trophy with victory over Braintree
Substitute Roarie Deacon's strike fired Hawks into the FA Trophy last 32 as they wrapped up a 1-0 victory over fellow National League South side Braintree Town.
The midfielder was on hand to hammer home from close range 17 minutes from time - just 10 minutes after coming off the bench - to see Paul Doswell's side past their Essex visitors in the third round clash at a near deserted Westleigh Park.
It was a tie lacking in chances created and quality, but not that Hawks will care as they safely made it into the hat for today's fourth round draw after collecting their 11th win in 16 competitive games in 2020/21.
The occasional torrential downpour and the fact the fixture was played behind closed doors, with Havant now placed under tier four coronavirus restrictions, was a factor in making it a tricky afternoon for both teams.
Doswell made five changes from the team that progressed past Bracknell Town in midweek. Anthony Straker, Sam Magri, Craig Robson, Josh Taylor, Daniel Ajakaiye and Joe Iaciofano were those who retained their places in the starting line up.
Out went keeper Joe Tupper, George Mclennan, Billy Clifford, Lucas Sinclair and Danny Kedwell, with Ross Worner, Benny Read, Bedsente Gomis, Godfrey Poku and Tommy Wright all recalled.
There were very few chances fashioned in what was a forgettable first half.
Braintree, who are bottom of the National League South, were content to sit in and allow the hosts plenty of the ball.
Midfielder Josh Taylor fired just wide from the edge of the area towards the end of the half in what was the only real opportunity in the opening 45 minutes.
That came soon after referee Michael Ryan briefly paused the match because of a heavy hail downpour.
Despite setting up to frustrate Hawks, it was Braintree who should have gone ahead eight minutes after the restart.
The hosts were unable to properly clear their lines from a long throw aimed into the area but centre-back Taofiq Olomowewe could only skew wide from close range after the ball had fallen kindly at his feet.
The breakthrough did finally arrive 17 minutes from time.
Braintree made a mess of dealing with Benny Read's cross and Danny Kedwell headed back across goal to Deacon who hammered home.
Striker Tommy Wright could have all but made sure of victory for Hawks four minutes later. Another substitute - this time Christian Rowe - slid the hosts' leading scorer in behind but he fired just wide of the far post.
Danny Bassett shot straight at Ross Worner from distance as Braintree went in search of an equaliser in the final 10 minutes.
The visitors also had a succession of corners in the dying seconds but Hawks progressed to the fourth round for the first time since 2015/16.
On that occasion they reached the last 16 before crashing at Grimsby Town.
Hawks are back in National League South action tomorrow at second-bottom Welling United.
Hawks: Worner; Read, Magri, Robson, Straker, Poku (Deacon, 63), Taylor, Gomis (Rowe, 52), Ajakaiye, Wright, Iaciofano (Kedwell, 63).