On a day when this season’s FA Vase got under way with north Essex clubs in first qualifying round action, a trio of superb results have made it tough to make a performance of the day award.

All three could easily be crowned with the honour after dominant displays, but one just edged ahead.

It wasn’t all good news for local clubs in the first qualifying round, though.

Holland FC were unable to progress as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Spartan South Midlands League premier division side Baldock Town and there was also home disappointment for Halstead Town against Haverhill Borough.

Haverhill took the lead at the Milbank Stadium with a goal from close range that was given despite an offside flag being raised by the assistant referee, but the hosts weren’t behind for long.

The Humbugs got back on level terms when a ball in from the left by Rocha Fosker found Jamie Baker, who spotted the Borough keeper off his line and chipped the ball in with a great finish.

Baker then almost doubled his own tally with a driven effort that keeper Shay Griffiths did well to tip on to the crossbar and a shot by Ricky Gardner suffered the same fate in time added-on at the end of the half as Halstead finished the half strongly.

Gardner struck the woodwork again after the break when a header came back off the post, but that was only after Halstead had fallen behind in the early part of the second half when they had failed to clear their lines.

Those missed opportunities were to come back to haunt Halstead as they fell further behind when a Haverhill free-kick found its way past the home wall and the Humbugs bowed out with a 3-1 defeat.

Another side bowing out were Little Oakley as they were beaten 1-0 at Long Melford.

The Acorns fell behind to a Nathan Rowe goal in the first half and although they pressed hard for an equaliser after the break, including hitting the bar from a late corner, Oakley were unable to get back on level terms.

However, there were some north Essex sides who will find themselves in the second qualifying round.

Among them are Stanway Rovers, who won after a dramatic finish to their tie at Hoddesdon Town.

Stanway’s unbeaten start to the Thurlow Nunn League premier division campaign had been halted in midweek and they found themselves trailing at half-time in their Vase tie at Hoddesdon.

Rovers had dominated the play, but the hosts’ opener came just before the break and it required a Tom Holdstock goal in 56 minutes to pull it level.

However, the real drama came late on as Jordan Blackwell struck in the 90th minute to snatch a last-gasp winner for Rovers that propelled them into the next round.

That was one of the trio of star performance contenders and another came at the Austin Arena where FC Clacton won 3-0 against Southend Manor.

The Seasiders had been impressive in the FA Cup seven days previously when they hosted Witham Town and they were quickly on top in this game as well.

It was a frantic opening as Clacton hit the post twice with efforts from Harry McDonald and Jordan Brazitis, they were awarded two penalties – one of which was saved – and they were leading 2-0.

The opener came on 22 minutes as Chris Ribchester headed in from a corner and that was followed six minutes later when Jake Clowsley drilled home the second of the two penalties.

Clacton’s only disappointment at the break was that they weren’t further ahead, but that was remedied on 65 minutes when Jordan Lartey deflected in Kyelan Marvell’s free-kick to make it 3-0.

That was how it stayed as the Seasiders were able to play out the game in comfort, but there was an even more emphatic win at Wivenhoe Town as the Dragons beat Clapton Community 5-1.

Wivenhoe took control of the tie in the first half as they had a strike from Dean Merrett and two by George Hart to show for their efforts in the opening 45 minutes.

A first-half clean sheet was denied by a goal from the visitors as the Dragons led 3-1 at the break, but the lead was extended when Merret doubled his tally by turning in a cross from Tom Lakin that had come back off the crossbar.

That was then 5-1 just four minutes later as Peter Maina had an almost instant impact off the bench when he came on and fired in a fifth for a now rampant Dragons side.

With three impressive victories for Wivenhoe, Stanway and Clacton, it’s tough to pick one that stands out more than the others, but the award this week goes to Stanway.

Rovers just edged the other two on this occasion as their win came on the road and in dramatic fashion as they kept going to the final whistle and ensured their progress in a thrilling finale.

Meanwhile, there was also Thurlow Nunn League action taking place.

In the premier division, Brantham Athletic were beaten 3-1 at Woodbridge Town and Brightlingsea Regent Reserves had a 3-2 win at home against Newbury Forest in division one south.