THERE were three quarter-final ties in the Essex and Suffolk Border League's Knockout Cup.

Holders Gas Recreation faced a tricky tie at Great Bentley and, in a titanic struggle, won 3-2, thanks to goals from Eldon Craig, Aston Firkins and Shane Goodyear.

The home side’s goals came from Jake Vaughan.

In another all-premier division clash, Tiptree Engaine were well beaten by visiting Earls Colne, who won 3-0 with goals from Jack Charnock, Jamie Hudson and Connor Randall.

At School Lane, Lawford Lads progressed after beating Alresford Colne Rangers 2-0.

This was thanks to goals from Oliver Mann and Jack Wood.

The outstanding tie will be played on March 14, when Dedham Old Boys will entertain first division Bures United.

The semi-final ties will be Gas Recreation at home to Earls Colne and the winners of Dedham and Bures will entertain Lawford.

In the premier division, there were some crucial matches, including a 2-1 win for leaders Stanway Pegasus, who defeated West Bergholt 2-1.

In the process, they went ten points clear of second-placed Bentley, having played five games more.

It may well be argued that points in the bag will be a great advantage as others play catch-up but it might be foolish to discount Bentley.

There were crucial games affecting the bottom of the table.

Barnston earned a vital point at home to Flitch United but, in reality, the three points would have been more desirable as they fight for survival.

Barnston trailed at half-time but levelled in the second half.

Flitch's scorers were Shane Pyne and Billy Sykes.

Mid-table Dedham comfortably beat visiting Little Oakley Reserves 2-0 but it was White Notley who had an emphatic win to almost ensure their senior status for another season as their great revival continued.

Their 5-0 victory at Oak Farm over bottom side Brantham Athletic Reserves was the fourth victory from their last five outings, which virtually condemns Athletic, barring a miracle, to relegation.

White Notley’s scorers were Peter Falco, Josh Goodey, Ryan Farley-Hearn and a brace from Callum Knightbridge.

In the first division, Colne Athletic moved to pole position following a 2-0 win at home to FC Clacton Reserves.

They lead on goal difference from Tiptree Jobserve, who were held by fifth-place Gosfield Unitd in a 2-2 draw.

The dark horses for the title are Sudbury Sports, who beat Stanway Rovers Reserves 3-1 at The Hawthorns.

This was thanks to goals from Jake Banyard and Shane Temple - both of whom have scored 22 times to date - and Luke Hipkin.

Sudbury are in third position, two points off the leaders with three games in hand.

In division two, leaders Hedinghams United picked up a useful point away to third-place Tavern in a goalless draw.

They are a point clear of Shrub End United, in second place, after they beat Wormingford Wanderers Reserves 4-0.

The two promotion places look to be between the top three sides.

In division three, Oyster took advantage of leaders St Osyth’s inactivity by closing the gap on second place to six points with two games in hand in the race for the third division title.

Danny Clements scored each side of half-time against a resilient Bradfield Rovers side.

Third-place Lawford Lads Reserves won at Hedinghams United Reserves 4-1 and now trail the leaders by 11 points with three games in hand.

Their scorers were Ben Upton, Daniel Edwards and two from James Reid.

In the league's Reserve Knockout Cup, Alresford Colne Rangers Reserves reached the semi-final stage, beating Brantham Athletic A 4-0.

Results: Knockout Cup: Great Bentley 2 Gas Recreation 3, Lawford Lads 2 Alresford Colne Rangers 0, Tiptree Engaine 0 Earls Colne 3.

Reserve Knockout Cup: Alresford Colne Rangers Res 4 Brantham Athletic A 0.

Premier division: Barnston 2 Flitch United 2, Dedham Old Boys 2 Little Oakley Res 0, Stanway Pegasus 2 West Bergholt 1, White Notley 5 Brantham Athletic Res 0.

Division one: Bell Vue Social 3 Stanway Pegasus Res 2, Colne Athletic 2 FC Clacton Res 0, Stanway Rovers Res 1 Sudbury Sports 3, Tiptree Jobserve 2 Gosfield United 2, West Bergholt Res 2 Bures United 0, Wormingford Wanderers 2 Mersea Island 1.

Division two: Cavendish 0 Hatfield Peverel Res 3, Gas Recreation Res 3 Elmden Rovers Res 2, Tavern 0 Hedinghams United 0, Tiptree Engaine Res 2 Dedham Old Boys Res 1, Tollsbury 2 Tiptree Jobserve Res 0, Shrub End United 4 Wormingford Wanderers Res 0.

Division three: Bradfield Rovers 0 Kelvedon Social 1, Hedinghams United Res 1 Lawfords Lads Res 4, Little Clacton 2 Stanway Athletic 4, Tiptree Heath Res 2 Barnston Res 6.