Welling United beat high-flying Havant & Waterlooville at Park View Road on Saturday to earn their place in the third round of the Isuzu FA Trophy.
The Wings were cruising with a two-goal lead thanks to Ade Azeez’s first-half double, but were given something to think about on the stroke of half-time when the visitors pulled one back.
And when a Jamie Sendles-White own goal pegged Welling bak to 2-2 in the second half, it looked as if the home side would conspire to have squandered their advantage, only for Stefan Payne to bag a deserved 77th-minute winner.
After a cagey opening period, it was the hosts who struck first to open the scoring in the 12th minute following a quite simply brilliant piece of skill from Yaser Kasim on the edge of the box.
The Iraqi showed great feet to turn his man in style and tee up Sam Cox, who supplied a low ball into the box which the visitors failed to deal with.
Azeez was on hand to poke the ball goal wards, only for it to be blocked and ricochet back off him and over the line to break the deadlock.
That really got the Wings flying as they stepped up their domination of the first period, doubling their lead in the 25th minute as Azeez sealed his brace.
It was another well-worked goal, this time starting with keeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle. His big kick forward was flicked on expertly by Payne to send Azeez in behind with just the keeper to beat. Keeping his cool, the striker waited for his moment to lift a perfectly-weighted lob over the on-rushing Brad House which dipped into the net for 2-0.
Welling were in complete control and were pushing for a third as their pressing continued to cause the Hawks problems.
Payne came close when his low shot was tipped inches past the post by House, while Manny Parry saw a header over the bar, but Havant gave themselves hope ahead of the second half when they pulled one back with the last kick of the half.
After the Wings failed to clear their lines from a corner, the ball fell kindly to Joe Oastler who slid the ball past McKenzie-Lyle to Danny Wright, who was on hand to turn it in on the goal line.
The home side maintained their control into the second half as they continued on the front foot.
Indeed, they should probably have regained their two-goal cushion on the hour mark when House dropped the ball in the box under pressure from Payne. The Wings played the ball over to Taylor Maloney who just needed to finish into the empty net, but kicked the air instead, letting a golden opportunity come and go.
They were made to rue that missed chance moments later as Havant got themselves back on level terms against the run of play, with a helping hand from their hosts.
When Jason Prior looked to volley a cross into the danger area, Jamie Sendles-White looked to make the block, but the ball came back off him and into the net for an unfortunate own goal.
Welling, however, were deserving of the lead they had somehow let slip and were undeterred, going back in front with 13 minutes left on the clock.
Maloney very nearly made amends for his earlier miss when he let fly from 25 yards with a superb strike which rattled the crossbar, leaving Payne with the job of nodding in the rebound to make it 3-2.
Havant had a good chance to draw level just before the 90 when Prior headed straight at McKenzie-Lyle from a good position while, at the other end, Payne came inches away from a fourth when he poked inches past the post, but it mattered not – the final whistle signalled the Wings’ place in the hat for the second round with the draw set to take place on Monday.
Welling United: McKenzie-Lyle, Cox (Barnes 32), Parry, Sendles-White, Ezennolim, Dunne, Kasim (Andrews 71), Maloney, Elito (Papadopoulos 79), Payne, Azeez.
Subs (not used): Howard, Dickens.
Goals: Azeez 12, 25, Payne 77
Havant & Waterlooville: House, Newton, Oastler, McCarthy, Clifford, Crichlow (Faal 57), Read (Passley 57), Gobbern, Wright, Roberts, Burnett (Prior 33).
Subs (not used): Magri, Searle, Collins.
Goal: Wright 45+3, Sendles-White (og) 66
Referee: Aaron Farmer