Deeping Rangers 1 Wivenhoe Town 0
It wasn’t pretty – but that doesn’t really matter.
A fourth successive win – the best run so far this season for Deeping Rangers – secured their place in the FA Vase second round.
They remain on the long road to Wembley thanks to a late winner by centre-half Joe Braithwaite.
Thankfully that ended the threat of extra-time to settle a tie which lacked quality.
Fittingly it was one of the Rangers’ defenders who made the difference and it was no surprise that the deadlock was broken at a set-piece.
Braithwaite’s far-post volley came on 75 minutes as Scott Ginty’s free-kick was flicked on by Deeping skipper David Burton-Jones.
And that proved enough to see off Wivenhoe Town who rarely looked likely to pose any problems.
Daniel Bircham collected a few crosses but he didn’t have a save to make.
He was well protected by Deeping’s defence and anyone in the back four would have been a worthy winner of the man-of-the-match award.
Right-back Dan Flack was selected as the star man and that was mainly due to his forward runs in the second half.
Braithwaite and Spencer Tinkler were solid against Wivenhoe captain Ben Parkin who barely got a touch as the lone striker.
Left-back Tom Smith also deserves credit on a day when the result was much better than the overall display from Deeping.
Burton-Jones and Ginty kept battling away in midfield but generally Rangers could have done more.
But they didn’t need to hit form against the Dragons from Essex who are struggling towards the bottom of the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League’s Premier Division.
Wivenhoe created the first real chance when right-back Andy Schofield went on a run and fired too high.
However, they could have no complaints after another defeat.
Deeping’s best moments came around the half-hour mark as Jordan Avis and Smith forced saves while in between Burton-Jones sent a header off target.
Jezz Goldson-Williams should have done better with a couple of efforts before the break but Deeping slowly got on top.
They eventually took the lead and the tie should have been put beyond any doubt with further opportunities.
Burton-Jones’ header was tipped over the bar and then substitute Charlie Coulson somehow failed to convert a golden chance from the edge of the six-yard box.
Wivenhoe keeper Peter Haxell was sent forward for a stoppage-time corner but even that failed to produce any drama as Deeping held on to win without playing that well.
4-3-1-2: Bircham 6; Flack 7, Tinkler 7, Braithwaite 7, Smith 7; Burton-Jones 7, Logan 5 (sub Ward h-t, 6), Carter 6; Ginty 7; Goldson-Williams 5 (sub Graham 62 mins, 6), Avis 6 (sub Coulson 72 mins). Sub not used: Holland.
4-4-1-1: Haxell; A Schofield, Dennis, C Rogers, T Rogers; Ayten (sub Griffin 72 mins), Marley Spindler, Nydam (sub M Schofield 81 mins), Marcus Spindler (sub Maina 61 mins); Whitby; Parkin.
Braithwaite (75 mins, 1-0).
C Rogers, Nydam, Braithwaite (fouls); Ward (dissent).
Dan Flack – the award could have gone to any of the back four but he got sponsors’ nomination.
Huntingdon Town (A) – UCL Premier Division, Saturday.