Horsham survived a few nervy second half moments to beat South Park 5-2 in Tuesday night’s FA Cup replay and set up a home meeting with Faversham in the next round.
Leading 3-0 at half-time after goals from Ross Morley, Ryan Marriott and Billy Dunn, the Hornets were cruising until two goals in as many minutes from Kieran Lavery suddenly gave the visitors hope.
They came close to levelling before Jamie Cade eased the nerves from the penalty spot as Park defender Michael Smith was shown a second yellow, and Miles Mitchell wrapped up victory with a late fifth.
Hornets boss Simon Colbran named two changes from the side who had drawn 1-1 at King George’s Field, fit again Lewis Hamilton returned at right-back while Marriott came in alongside Cade in attack, replacing the injured Gabby Odunaike.
And a great start saw the hosts race into a 2-0 lead inside eight minutes.
A fine crossfield ball from Marriott found Dunn on the right, he forced his way into the area and when the ball broke to Morley on the edge, his deflected shot wrong footed James Wastell to give the midfielder his first Hornets goal.
Just two minutes later the hosts had a second and this time it was all Marriott, skipping past a defender on the left before opening his body and firing low across the keeper and in off the far post.
Frontman Lavery - on target for South Park in the first match - came close to pulling one back with the visitor’s first foray forward but his deflected shot just missed the far post.
On 26 minutes Horsham had a third, Dunn’s powerful shot from distance was saved, but Cade picked up the rebound and squared back to Dunn, and he gratefully accepted his second invitation with a rasping finish from inside the box.
South Park had shown none of the fight that had seen them reach the Fourth Qualifying Round last season and run the Hornets so close three days earlier, but the hosts took their foot off the gas at the start of the second half and on the hour goalkeeper Michael Hunter had to make his first save, keeping out David Smith’s volley at the near post.
With 20 minutes of the tie remaining Horsham were then stunned with two goals in two minutes. Lavery chested down a cross from the right and fired past Hunter, and when the striker then produced a wonder strike from 30 yards into the top corner, suddenly Park trailed by just the one goal.
With the rain now lashing down at Gorings Mead the visitors sensed an equaliser, though Morley twice came close to killing the tie off on the break, firing just wide from a fine Marriott break and then forcing a diving stop from Wastell.
South Park pressure saw them win a free kick right on the edge of the area, but Hornets stopper Hunter dived to deny Lavery and Park and third, and the tie was finally settled five minutes from time when Smith fouled Morley inside the box and was handed and early bath and Cade sent Wastell the wrong way from the penalty spot.
In the final minute Mitchell finished well when played through by Billy Joe King for a fifth as Horsham netted a welcome £3,000 in prize funds and earned a home tie against Ryman South rivals Faversham in the Second Qualifying Round.
Horsham (4-4-1-1): Hunter; Hamilton (Varley 86), B King, J King, Charman; Mitchell, Dunn (Harris 65), Morley, Napper; Marriott; Cade (Cushing 90).