JAKE Plane was the hat-trick hero as FC CLACTON powered into the third round of the Thurlow Nunn League Cup, eliminating holders BRANTHAM ATHLETIC 4-1.

The wide man blasted a treble, including two stoppage-time strikes, to seal an eye-catching victory in the second-round tie.

At one point it looked like a penalty shoot-out could be needed, with the tie delicately poised at 1-1.

Instead, Clacton finished with a flourish and in addition to Plane’s late brace – adding to his earlier free-kick – Adam Hampson was also on target for the Seasiders.

It means the in-form hosts have now won three matches in a row and are unbeaten in four league and cup fixtures.

Clacton took the lead just before half-time, at the Rush Green Bowl.

Plane came up trumps with an unstoppable free-kick from just outside the box.

Brantham restored parity after a lapse in concentration by Seasiders keeper Joe Fowler, fumbling a corner into his own net.

And it looked like a shoot-out could be on the cards, with the sides all-square heading into the latter stages and no provision for extra time.

Instead, Hampson produced a clinical finish four minutes from time after Harry McDonald’s thunderbolt shot was only parried by Imps keeper Ben Mayhew.

Plane then made the tie safe before winning and converting a penalty right at the death, putting the gloss on an excellent victory.

Elsewhere, it was also a good night for Clacton’s coastal neighbours, HOLLAND FC.

Rob Batten’s side were in League Cup action and proved too strong for Thurlow Nunn League division south title contenders HALSTEAD TOWN, winning 4-0 at the W&S Scaffolding Community Stadium.

BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT RESERVES bowed out after a 5-2 defeat at Hadleigh United.

Meanwhile, Regent’s first team had an important Bostik League premier division date at second-from-bottom Harlow Town.

And they returned home with maximum points from a 1-0 victory – an outcome that hoisted them up two places in the table, leapfrogging Haringey Borough and Whitehawk.

Matt Baxter scored their all-important goal after 76 minutes.

Regent are now unbeaten in three matches and will be in confident mood for Saturday’s big FA Trophy date at Canvey Island.

MALDON AND TIPTREE had a night to forget in division north, crashing to a 4-0 defeat at home to AFC Sudbury.

Former Brightlingsea hero Phil Kelly was among the goals and all four came in the first 33 minutes.

In the Essex Senior Cup third round, COGGESHALL TOWN defeated Barking 1-0 thanks to a 72nd-minute goal from Sam Bantick.

The substitute took his tally to six goals in four games, firing home after playing a quick one-two with Ross Wall.

WITHAM TOWN exited the county cup after a 4-2 defeat at Hullbridge Sports.

After finding themselves three-down, they made a fight of it thanks to goals from Alejandro Seonne-Barber and Sam Ashford.

The latter strike came from the penalty spot.

STANWAY ROVERS were in Errington Challenge Cup action at St Margaretsbury and lost 5-0.