A combination of Lee Chappell, excellent last-ditch defending, and a large slice of good fortune, was sufficient to see St Albans City through to the 3rd Round Qualifying of the FA Cup on Sunday as Hayes & Yeading United rued their fate when going down to a 1-0 defeat.
Chappell, following his recent hat-trick, again provided the cutting edge to carry City to victory but United had plenty of opportunities to avoid a premature cup exit.
St Albans suffered a blow when John Frendo was forced to withdraw due to a family bereavement.
His place in attack was taken and filled admirably by, firstly, Lee Clarke, and then later in the day by Sean Shields.
City began brightly at Maidenhead Unitedâ€™s York Road stadium, a ground that has undergone an impressive facelift since the Saints last visit and now boasts a fine new main stand on the railway line side.
But after winning a couple of corners the Saints were thankful to the alertness of goalkeeper Joe Welch in stretching to tip over a drifting Deâ€™Reece Vanderhyde cross that was dipping under the crossbar.
Hayes maintained the pressure as City attempted to clear Louis-Rae Beadleâ€™s corner and when Beadle returned a clearance into the goalmouth Darren Locke did well to hook the ball out for another corner.
City skipper Ben Martin, whose distribution was not quite at its best, handed the home side possession with a loose pass and the ball was quickly knocked out to Affy Bafemi on the left by Cliff Akurang.
Bafemi slipped a good return pass to Akurang but the experienced striker shot straight at the in-form Welch.
St Albans did get the ball into the net on 24 minutes when Shields laid a pass to James Comley, via Charlie Gorman, whose perfectly flighted ball over the home defence was elegantly lobbed over keeper Calum Kitscha by Chappell only to be ruled offside.
Now it was Cityâ€™s turn to apply the pressure. A long throw by Chappell was glanced on by Martin and James Kaloczi to Steve Wales whose drive into the ground looped up and across the goal before bouncing wide.
Shields added to Unitedâ€™s growing problems when stealing the ball from Vanderhyde by the goalline and cutting inside Obafemi before having his low shot inside the near post kicked away by Kitschaâ€™s left right boot.
Another Chappell throw on the City left was flicked on, under pressure, by Hayes substitute Ashleigh Artwell and went just wide of his own back post.
St Albans seemed to be edging closer to a goal and Martin was next to go close with a fine header from a Comley free kick.
The early exchanges of the second half were open with Hayes going close when Obafemi touched the ball back to Beadle whose curling shot went a yard over the City goal.
Hayes looked to certain to forge ahead when Akurang beat Martin in a chase for a long ball from Gary MacDonald.
Akurang cut inside but had his rising shot beaten out by Welch. Matty Harriottâ€™s follow up was kicked off the line by Chappell, and as Akurang pounced on this rebound Gorman was on hand to block just four yards from goal.
Chappellâ€™s growing influence on the game reached its zenith in the 57th minute when David Keenleyside found the City left back with a good ball down the left flank.
Waiting for the ball to bounce up, Chappell launched an exquisite chipped left-footed shot over Kitscha from the edge of the penalty area that sailed over the home keeper and dropped inside the back post for his fourth goal in as many games.
Hayes hit back quickly with Harriott testing Welch with a long range effort, while Kitscha parried a deflected shot by Shields with Clarkeâ€™s follow up going narrowly wide.
Midway through the half City looked to tighten their grip on what they had by replacing Clarke with midfielder Danny Green.
Shields was now left as a lone striker and did a good job, but at the other end of the pitch City did ride their good fortune at times.
The ball bounced to and froâ€™ inside the penalty area following a free kick by former Saint Adam Everitt before Obafemi sliced a shot across the goal and wide.
If United needed confirmation that this was not to be their day then it came when Welch, attempting to clear a back-pass by Locke, smacked the ball into the advancing Akurang.
A distraught Welch could only look on as the ball rebounded past him and looked destined for the back of the net, while Akurang threw his head back in anguish as it rolled wide by just a matter of inches.
Shields remained a threat to the home defence and, after out-witting Everitt and Dean Inman, flashed the ball in front of Kitschaâ€™s goal.
Eight minutes from time St Albans made a second substitution that could have been viewed as defensive when Howard Hall replaced Steve Wales.
But Hall, back at St Albans after a recent spell at Harrow Borough, eased the growing pressure on the City goal with positive runs down the right wing.
If City had any complaints about any decisions referee Ian Cooper may have made earlier in the day then they will have been washed away in the 90th minute.
Hayes broke swiftly following a Comley free kick with Akurang heading the ball through the middle of the defence for Pat Cox to latch onto.
Green tussled with the Hayes striker outside the penalty area and then fell in front of him to send Cox sprawling inside the box, but despite sustained Hayes appeals Mr Cooper deemed that no offence had taken place.
And with that City were as a good as home and saw out four minutes of added time without any further serious concerns.