Mildenhall Town show their class to comfortably see off Lakenheath in FA Vase derby at The Nest
There were no scares for higher-league Mildenhall Town as they comfortably saw off the threat of hosting Lakenheath with a 3-1 scoreline sealing their progress through to the Buildbase FA Vase First Round.
Two goals within five minutes of each other mid-way through the first half, a close-range volley from Casey Philips and a classy run and finis from Tanner Call, put Ricky Cornish's side in full control of the second qualifying round tie.
James Hall was gifted a third within three minutes of the second half to effectively put things to bed though Lakenheath did rally well after Tom Thulborn took advantage of a defensive mix-up in the 65th minute.
The hosts went into the game off the back of losing their 100 per cent record in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North match of the season, with a 3-2 reverse at Debenham LC last time out seeing them relinquish top spot.
Mildenhall, meanwhile went into the tie after an unbeaten start to their Premier Division campaign.
The hosts were again missing first-choice centre-back Ryan Sanders, who was working his way back with the reserves from a troublesome leg injury while Rafal Wozniak was unavailable. Mildenhall were without Phil Weavers and Kane Manels, both unavailable.
It was the higher-league visitors who burst out of the blocks with Call firing wide after a neat back heel from Hall while Scott Chaplin curled just wide of the far post with a low effort.
Heath responded well though, forcing a pair of saves from Danny Crump through Shaun Avis, the second in the 11th minute blocked at his near post, while the first was parried away.
Striker Hall had his head in his hands in the 13th minute after he was put clear up the other end before putting his shot wide of the right-hand post in what had undoubtedly been the game's clearest opening in a frantic start.
But shortly after the hosts wasted a free kick in a decent position by firing into the wall, Mildenhall took the lead in the 20th minute from their own set piece.
Joe Ansensi's deep right-sided free kick carried well to the fart post where Casey Philips' header forced a diving save from Charlie Beckwith but came back into his path for the centre-half to volley it into the net.
It took less than five minutes for the visitors to double their advantage with a fine piece of forward play from Call. The former Bury Town man cushioned Thurlbourne's pass on the edge of the penalty area before running across to his left and shimmying past two defenders before coolly firing inside the far right-hand post.
Lakenheath went close to pulling one back 10 minutes later but Ryan Weaver scooper an effort over the bar while it was not long before Thurlborn's dangerous cut back was almost fired into his own net by Hitch.
It was Mildenhall who then dominated to the end of the half, playing some fine free-flowing football. And they should have extended their lead but for a fine double save from Beckwith who first clawed out Green's far post header before saving Hall's rebound with his legs.
The hosts had some stern words thrown their way at half-time and responded with a positive start to the second period, forcing a couple of early corners.
But they soon shot themselves in the foot up the other end when skipper Sam Hawley misjudged Hitch's 48th minute right-wing cross and Hall was left with time and space to control and pick his spot from around 10 yards out.
Mildenhall should have punished them further but Call, put clean through by Thurlbourne, fired over the crossbar while Scott Callaghan managed to dispossess Hall as he bore down on goal.
Ben Cowling's side got on the scoresheet in the 65th minute when the tenacity of Thulborn was rewarded as he chased down keeper Crump from a throw-in and saw his tackle roll into the net from around 18 yards out.
Hall lifted over the crossbar from Hitch's throughball straight after as the visitors looked to restore their three-goal cushion.
There was controversy with 15 minutes to go as Lakenheath felt they should have had a penalty when the lively Thulborn was bundled over by Asensi only for the referee, after consulting with his assistant, to give a free kick on the edge of the area. Reece Clarke fired it not far over the crossbar.
Up the other end, Beckwith comfortably saved Chaplin's header but it was Heath who ended strongly with substitute Rhys Mazey curling a free kick even closer to the crossbar.
But the second goal, which would have reignited the tie, never materialised and it was Mildenhall was comfortably pocketed the £725 prize money.
Lakenheath: Beckwith, Logan, McIntosh (Webber 45+2'), Hawley, Underwood, Callaghan, Weaver, Clarke, Avis (Mazey 63'), Thulborn, Enaro (R Philips 63').
Mildenhall: Crump, Green, Thurlbourne (Yeomans 86'), Butcher, Asensi, Philips, Chapin, Hitch, Hall, Steed, Call (Nolan 65'). Unused subs: Ruddy, Barlow (GK), Marwick.
Suffolk News Man of The Match: Jamie Thurlbourne. Played in some great balls which created some of Mildenhall's best chances.