Andy Woodman praised his Whitehawk side as they took a giant stride to National League south survival after beating Welling United for the third time this season, writes Anthony Scott.

Frankie Sutherland’s strike six minutes from time secured a priceless 1-0 win at the Enclosed Ground.

The victory moved Hawks five points clear of the bottom three but Woodman knows there is still plenty of work to do before his side can begin to relax.

“It was important we produced a performance after Wednesday night (lost 4-1 at home to Hemel Hempstead),” said Woodman.

“We looked at this game as one where we wanted to get something from it and we fully deserved all three points.

“I don’t remember Lucas (Covolan, goalkeeper) having to do much in the second half and on another day we could have scored two or three.

“However, to get all three points is the most important thing, and it’s a sign to say things are on the up here.”

Woodman made two changes to the starting line-up from the controversial defeat to Hemel with Mike West and Paul Reid starting in place of Javier Favarel and Chris M’Boungou, who were dropped to the bench.

Both sides had chances in the first half but the Hawks had a decent shout for a penalty waved away by Marc Whaley when Danny Mills got on the end of a long ball before being bundled over.

Skipper Sergio Torres then shot straight at Chris Lewington after good work from West before Vas Karagiannis fired a free-kick in a good area over the top.

The hosts continued to look dangerous going forward, with Alex Osborn picked out well by Josh Passley only to see his goalbound volley blocked by Dean Francis.

Hawks were given a warning at the other end when Ali Fuseini headed against the bar while Danny Waldren beat Dan Harding but failed to hit the target.

Danny Mills came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock just before the interval when he beat the keeper after being was put through by Torres but his effort was cleared by Jordon Brown.

Woodman’s men started the better in the second period with Passley shooting into the side netting before Ibby Akanbi was denied by a block from a Wings defender.

Passley had the ball in the back of the net when he tapped in Ramon Marimon’s flick on but his celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.

Marimon headed narrowly wide from a corner as a draw looked increasingly likely.

However, Sutherland struck just six minutes from time – the former Woking midfielder firing home a free-kick from 25 yards.

The game was marred late on when Michael Thalassitis appeared to punch Harding in the back of the head but referee Marc Whaley opted not to send the Welling player off.

It didn’t dampen the spirits of the home faithful, however, as Hawks wrapped up their first home win since the end of October.

Woodman said: “The job is far from done. The boys put in a great shift today but it counts for nothing if we don’t take something from the important games we have coming up.”

Whitehawk: Covolan, Passley, Harding, West, Marimon, Reid, Torres, Southam (Sutherland 66), Mills, Akanbi, Osborn. Subs not used: M’Boungou, Favarel, Shephard, Hyde.

Booked: Osborn, Akanbi, Southam.

Welling: Lewington, Fish, Brown, Fuseini, Hayles, Francis, Karagiannis (Crawford 55), Waldren, Slabber (Cathline 17), Thalassitis, Murrell-Williamson (Walker 55). Subs not used: Richards, Leacock.

Attendance: 370.

Referee: M. Whaley.