Delroy Preddie admitted he owed Steve Gregory a huge debt of gratitude after the midfielder's goals ensured a terrible blunder did not cost Hayes & Yeading promotion.
United were on level terms with 20 minutes to go when the keeper rolled the ball in front of him, unaware that Hampton striker Ian Hodges was lurking behind him. To his horror, Hodges nipped in front of him to whip the ball away and stroke the ball into an empty net.
But within four minutes, Gregory turned it around with two lucky strikes and the 32-year-old stopper was spared excessive embarrassment.
“I could kiss him right now,” Preddie said of his match-winning team-mate.
“It was just one of those things that can happen. It does run through your mind that it might not be your day, but you just have to dust yourself off and get on with it and that's what we did. We've got mental strength and we got through it.
“There was absolute relief afterwards. It's been a long season and not to go up after making a mistake like that would have been absolutely disastrous.”
Gregory said: “He's been absolutely unbelievable for us this season and we owe him a few drinks. He's a great keeper and it was just unfortunate.
“But to be honest, I never thought we were going to lose the game.
“Last week we were 4-0 down in the semi-final against Eastleigh and came back to win 6-4, so I never had a doubt that we would score another goal.
“The way it happened was lucky though. My first goal was just a cross, but it went in off the post. Then I shanked a pass to Ram [Marwa] that hit my shin. I've gone for the tackle and it's gone through the guy's legs and then my shot has gone under the keeper, so that was a another lucky one. But I'll take it!”
United had taken an eighth minute lead when Scott Fitzgerald tapped in Dale Binns' angled cross from the left.
Hampton, who had keeper Matt Lovett sent off towards the end of the match for racing out to the touchline to stop Fitzgerald breaking away, drew level early in the second half when former Hayes player Shaun McAuley beat Preddie with an low drive.