Whitehawk joint-manager Paul Reid was pleased despite seeing his side crash out of the Sussex Senior Cup away at Crawley Town.
Despite going behind, the Reds bounced back with goals from Conor Henderson and a brace from Bobson Bawling to seal their place in the last four.
Reid said: “I am disappointed to be on the wrong side of the result.
“However, tonight we got undone by a bit of quality and better fitness levels. I can accept the increase in quality in other side, and I feel that I couldn’t ask for much more from the boys.
“We changed shape second half after we recognised they were getting a lot of space in midfield, and it seemed to work.
“I believe we are turning the corner. It has taken a few weeks to get our message across to the team, but we are starting to see the change and more committed performance levels.”
The Hawks got off to the perfect start – as Brian Howard whipped in a corner from the right. It ran all the way through to Kevin Lisbie at the far post who had a simple tap-in just four minutes in.
The lead, however, lasted all of two minutes. Marvin Hamilton’s poor clearance went as far as Conor Henderson on the edge of the area, whose low drive beat Tom Stewart.
And it was the Reds who went in front before the 15-minute mark. Jason Banton’s cross was only half cleared by Paul Reid, and the ball dropped to Bobson Bawling who made no mistake from ten yards.
The hosts were then given a major let-off when Alex Osborn’s through ball played in Lisbie, but his low drive was well saved by Yusuf Mersin.
And the Hawks were made to rue that chance when Jordan Roberts played a neat through ball to Bawling, who beat M’Boungou before sliding past Stewart.
Bawling was then denied a hat-trick in the second half when Chris M’Boungou cleared off the line after good work from Banton, before the Hawks later had a consolation goal chalked off when Danny Mills was flagged offside when heading in Ahmed Abdulla’s cross.
Reds: Mersin (GK), Arthur, Banton, Roberts (Boldewijn 64), Blackman, Garnett, Bawling, Tajbakhsh, Djalo ©, Watt, Henderson. Subs: Morris (GK), Connolly, Clifford.
Hawks: Stewart (GK), Hamilton, Harding, Howard (Favarel 61), Reid (Marimon 69), M’Boungou, Abdulla, Southam, Mills, Lisbie, Osborn (West 53). Subs: Rodrigues, Lengka.
Shots: CRA 9-5 WHK; Shots On Target: CRA 4-3 WHK; Corners: CRA 6-3 WHK; Fouls Committed: CRA 15-6 WHK; Offside: CRA 2-6 WHK; Bookings: CRA 0-0 WHK; Sent Off: CRA 0-0 WHK.
Referee: Marc Meeten.
Report by Anthony Scott. Photos by David Hunt.