Norwich United progress to fourth round of FA Vase with 3-0 win against Erith Town
Norwich United have progressed to the fourth round of the FA Vase after a convincing 3-0 win against Erith Town at Plantation Park.
The Southern Counties Premier Division side provided a physical test for the Planters in a very competitive first half but it was the home side that went into the break with the advantage.
In the final minute of normal time in the first half a penalty was given after some pushing in the box as players from both sides tried to meet a deep free-kick into the Erith box from Norwich right-back Jamie Speller.
It seemed a soft penalty, with few appeals from the Planters players, but Adam Bennett did not worry about that and made sure to take full advantage by blasting the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner, squeezing under Erith keeper Daniel Clarke's dive in the correct direction.
During the break the East London side suffered a blow though as their giant centre-half James Holder went off injured. Holder stands at around 6ft 3ins tall and had been a key part of a 3-4-3 formation being played by the visitors.
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Without his aggression at the heart of their defence, Norwich were able to take control in the second half and doubled their lead in the 71st minute.
Danny Moore was booked for persistent fouling when he brought down Planters skipper Gavin Lemmon around 35 yards from goal and Speller sent in a curling low cross from the free-kick on the right.
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The ball went all the way through to the back post, where midfielder Andrew Eastaugh was on hand to poke the ball goalwards and divert it around the Erith keeper to see it creep in at the far post.
The goal effectively killed the game as a contest and anything thrown at the Norwich defence by Erith was comfortably dealt with.
Matthew Blake then put the icing on the cake for Damian Hilton's side in the 88th minute, after substitute Ben Jones had put the striker through one-on-one with the keeper.
The striker calmly placed his shot to the right of the onrushing keeper to roll the ball into the bottom right-hand corner and get some reward for his hard graft earlier in the match.
The win puts the Planters into the fourth round of the Vase, the furthest they have ever progressed in the competition.
- For reaction to the victory from Planters boss Damian Hilton, and a full report and pictures from the match, see Monday's Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News.