Mark Harper was relieved to see his Hampton & Richmond side progress in the FA Trophy to set up a clash with Blue Square Bet South Chelmsford City, writes Tom Ambrose.
A brace from Charlie Moone and Tom Hickey’s low drive saw the Beavers overcome Leiston 3-2 and they face the Essex club in the first round.
Despite a dominant first half display, the hosts made hard work of the second and almost let their three goal advantage slip.
Harper said: “It was a very nervy second half after a fantastic performance in the first.
“I had visions of it being a repeat of Wealdstone. But the important thing is that we won and I’m pleased with the result.
“The opportunity to play a Conference South side, with home advantage, will be a measure of how far we have come.”
It was a game that Hampton seemed to be in total control of at the break, racing into a 3-0 lead.
Moone opened the scoring on seven minutes when Mo Harkin’s cross found the Beavers talisman unmarked in the box to head home.
With clear-cut chances at a premium, Hickey doubled the lead when Leiston failed to deal with a corner, keeping his drilled effort hard and low.
Moone then took full advantage of the napping Leiston defence to latch onto the ball and slotted coolly past Danny Potter.
The visitors came out fighting in the second half and pulled one back when Rhys Henry’s long-range strike squirmed under Hampton’s Rodney Chiweshe.
On 73 minutes, Joel Ledgister’s curling free-kick found Max Hustwick, whose headed effort rattled the post.
Leiston produced a dramatic finale when Gareth Heath’s glancing header from Henry’s cross reduced arrears on 79 minutes.
It proved to be Leiston’s last real opportunity as the hosts closed the tie out.
Hickey’s thunderbolt tested the strength of the woodwork in stoppage time but the score remained 3-2, leaving boss Harper looking forward to Saturday’s league clash against Cray Wanderers.
He said: “We are top of the league and we have to keep believing – we’re looking for three points on Saturday.”
Hampton & Richmond: Chiweshe, Kamara, Jenkins, Cousins, Hustwick, Turner, Ledgister, Hickey, Moone, Bettamer (Bates 83), Harkin (Simmonds 57). Unused subs: Paul, Carder, Wain.
Leiston: Potter, Head (Driver 21), Dunbar, Hammond, Jefford, Boardley (Tumizana 76), Henry, Heath, Osei, Smy, Brothers. Unused subs: Norfolk, Munson.