United put in another fine performance at Church Road on Saturday afternoon to take all three points from FA Cup heroes Havant & Waterlooville.
Garry Haylock made one change to his line-up, injury to Will Hendry saw a re-shuffle and a debut for new signing Adam Thompson at the heart of the United defence where he was to have an excellent game.
The visiting Hawks were out of the blocks quickest and with just five minutes played Nevin Saroya's weak header was pounced upon by Craig Watkins who advanced towards Alessio De Angelis' goal only to be denied by a tackle from the recovering Saroya that saw the ball deflect onto the crossbar with Thompson making an excellent block as Tony Taggart tried to head home the rebound.
Just a couple of minutes later Jamie Slabber and former United man Stephen Gregory combined and crossed to a waiting Taggart at the far post but he appeared to miss the ball as it bounced off his standing leg into De Angelis' grasp.
United finally produced a threat on 20 minutes. Having been awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Hawks box, Saroya stepped up and beat the wall only for Kevin Scriven to push the ball around the post. Almost immediately Taggart robbed Thompson and fired across the field to Slabber but De Angelis held his shot comfortably.
A quick United throw on the right saw the ball played to Danny Allen-Page and his low near post cross was met by Josh Scott but his effort could only ripple the side netting. The impressive James Mulley then picked up the ball in his own half and raced at the Hawks defence before finding Knight who helped it on to Scott only for a defensive boot to blast the ball against Mulley before watching it go just wide of the target.
The visitors then began to assert some pressure on the United defence. Watkins flicked neatly over Saroya and moved towards goal but was denied by a superb Steve Perkins tackle just as he pulled the trigger. Watkins again bore down on goal seconds later after chasing down a long Taggart pass, thankfully for United the striker screwed his effort well wide of the goal. Still the pressure came as Slabber's cross was flicked on by Taggart to a suspiciously offside looking Watkins who headed over under challenge from De Angelis.
With the game into first half stoppage time the deadlock was finally broken. United were awarded a free-kick for handball right on the edge of the Hawks area, while all expected Saroya to try his luck again, it was Scott who stepped forth and planted a perfect free-kick right into the bottom corner of Scrivens net.
The second period could not have started better for the home side who were to find the net twice more before the visitors got near the United goal. Knight played creator for the first as his pass was advanced by Mulley before looping a shot over Scriven into the back of the net. Just seven minutes later Knight turned from creator to scorer, Scott broke wide on the left and cut the ball back to his strike partner and despite missing the ball at the first attempt he was alert enough to fire the loose ball into the back of the Hawks net.
Just minutes later the visitors almost found a way back as the ball was chipped through to Taggart who was only denied by an excellent close range save from De Angelis. Jay Smith was next to have a chance for the Hawks but his header from a Taggart corner was far too high.
About ten minutes remained on the watch when Knight almost capped a man of the match performance in style. Having firstly chased down a ball that was being shielded out of play, the striker won possession before dancing into area and unleashing a drive that appeared to be headed for the top corner only to be denied by a superb full stretch tip over by Scriven.
De Angelis was denied his first United clean sheet in the last minute but not after he had made the save of the day. Slabber played a superb ball into the run of Mo Harkin who with just the keeper to beat probably could not believe his luck when De Angelis pulled off a superb stop from his drive, thankfully for the Hawks he kept his composure and found the net with the loose ball despite another attempt by De Angelis to keep it out.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.