Deeping Rangers into fourth round of FA Vase for first time after victory over FC Clacton
Deeping Rangers reached the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in the club's history after a 4-2 home success over FC Clacton in a cracking clash at the Haydon Whitham Stadium on Saturday.
A powerful first half performance laid the foundations for Deeping's victory in an action-packed contest against their Thurlow Nunn Premier Division visitors.
Rangers raced into a 3-1 lead and although Clacton kept chipping away at their hosts, the Clarets were commanding in their performance to secure their place in the last 32 for the first time.
The home side made a couple of changes to last week's team which had crushed United Counties League Premier Division basement side Wellingborough Whitworth 7-0.
With goalkeeper Phil McGann cup-tied, youngster Lewis Elsom featured for the second successive game and produced a string of fine saves to deny a lively visiting side while also coming close to scoring with a huge clearance in the latter stages.
Skipper David Burton-Jones also returned to the Rangers ranks after missing last week's match through suspension, while Jonny Lockie - who scored a hat-trick the previous Saturday - was on the bench.
A rousing Rangers start saw them take the lead after just seven minutes when some slick link-up play between Henry Dunn and Dan Jarvis saw the latter whip a pinpoint cross to the back post where Dan Schiavi swept home the opening goal.
Schiavi sent another effort just wide after being teed up by Michael Simpson before the visitors started to grow into the contest.
Elsom produced a superb reaction save to turn a decent strike from Karl Andrade behind before palming away a dangerous low cross from Jake Plane.
Rangers then missed a good chance to double their lead when Luke Andersen cushioned a Schiavi corner into the path of Billy Stubbs but his header from close range was blocked by a posse of players.
Clacton took full advantage of the let off, as Plane hit a fierce strike from just outside the box with Andrade pouncing on the rebound from Elsom's save and going down under the keeper's challenge.
Elsom went the right way for Andrade's penalty and although he got a strong hand on the ball, it looped up and spun on the bounce back into the Rangers net to bring the visitors level.
Plane then let fly from distance with another sweet hit that rattled the Rangers crossbar as Clacton enjoyed their best spell of the half.
However, they were rocked just past the half-hour mark by two Deeping goals in as many minutes.
Simpson deflected home a low strike from Burton-Jones to restore Rangers' lead after 33 minutes before Jarvis ran onto a Schiavi pass and unleashed an unstoppable strike to give the Clarets a 3-1 lead.
Scott Mooney could have increased the lead when he burst clear from a sublime Schiavi pass but his lobbed effort was safely gathered by Joe Fowler in the Clacton goal as Rangers finished the first half in the ascendency.
Elsom produced a fantastic save at full stretch to preserve Rangers' lead two-goal early in the second half before Schiavi sent a shot narrowly wide of the far post after a fine pass from Burton-Jones.
Clacton then got themselves back in the game when Plane's drilled free-kick after 55 minutes took a deflection to wrong-foot Elsom.
Both sides then went at full throttle for the next game-defining goal, as Flower produced a superb save to turn over a powerful header from Burton-Jones, while Luke Hunnings produced a brilliant block at the other end to get in the way of Plane's well-struck shot.
Fowler flung himself full length to twice deny Schiavi from free-kicks before Jarvis was denied by a vital last-ditch lunge from Oliver Lamb as he prepared to shoot.
Rangers then effectively wrapped up the game with 10 minutes remaining, as Jarvis won a challenge with Fowler for a through ball before stroking home his second and Deeping's fourth of the afternoon.
Elsom then nearly caught Fowler unawares with a huge clearance that bounced over his opposite number, but the Clacton custodian raced back to turn the ball behind.
Fowler was then scrambling back to his goal again to save after Seasiders' centre-half Wayne Chapman headed past his own keeper under pressure.
Clacton had last one opening of an entertaining game when Max Booth side-stepped Elsom but Dan Flack was covering to make a vital block to ensure Rangers' place in Monday's fourth round draw.
Deeping: Elsom, Flack, Andersen, Burton-Jones, Hunnings, Stubbs, Dunn (Lockie), Simpson (Coulson), Mooney (Carter), Schiavi, Jarvis. Not used: Fryett, Bircham.
Clacton: Fowler, Thompson, Smith-Walter, Clampin, Chapman, Lamb, Plane, McDonald, Andrade (Eve), Hampson, Booth. Not used: Gregory, Daniels, Clowsley, Banner.