LITTLE Oakley manager Matt Carmichael hailed a "strong squad performance" after watching his side book their place in the League Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

The Acorns advanced into the last eight of the Thurlow Nunn League competition after an impressive 2-0 victory against Lopes Tavares at the Memorial Ground on Tuesday.

Ironically, the contest pitted the top two teams in division one south, with the Londoners setting the pace at the top of the table and Oakley second.

However, it was the Tendring side who had the upper hand on this occasion thanks to two second-half goals from Luke Mayhew.

The striker slotted his side in front after great work down the right by Greg Rodger.

He then settled the contest with a confident finish from the penalty spot, after a foul on Rodger.

"The second half was a lot better," said a delighted Carmichael.

"In the first we looked a bit off the pace.

"Lopes arrived late because of traffic so the kick-off was delayed, which meant we warmed up twice.

"It wasn't great preparation and that showed for half an hour.

"But once we got in at half-time, we reset and rejigged things slightly, in terms of our tactics.

"We stopped them doing what they'd done in the first half and I thought we were better.

"We were pretty comfortable after that.

"(Goalkeeper) Dan Joyce did his job in the first half and our strikers did theirs in the second.

"Everyone did well, especially as were missing several key players from our regular starting 11.

"It was a strong squad performance and one we can draw great self-belief from it.

"We were happy and positive and it was a big boost because we let ourselves down a bit on Saturday (drawing 1-1 with lowly Hackney Wick)."

Carmichael, who was without the services of Adam Bloss, Brad James, Jamie Beecham and Shaun Kioussis, was delighted with his front three - Mayhew, Rodger and Harry Mann.

"They keep working hard and keep delivering," he said.

"To be fair, they weren't at their best for the entire 90 minutes.

"But they still won us the game and it's hard to ask for more than that.

"We don't rely on them, because there are others doing their jobs and chipping in with goals, but we're certainly lucky to have them.

"They've been on their game this season and I think there's more to come from them, too."

Elsewhere on Tuesday, STANWAY ROVERS defeated premier division neighbours BRANTHAM ATHLETIC 3-1 in the League Challenge Cup.

Tyler Kemp, Tom Holdstock and Daniel Cunningham scored their goals at The Hawthorns.

HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS were in BetVictor Isthmian League division north action but lost 1-0 at home to AFC Sudbury.

MALDON AND TIPTREE thrashed Bury Town 6-1 in group one of the Velocity Trophy.

Their scorers were Jake Brice-Wiffen, Jorome Slew (two), Hamza Kaid, Hamza Kaid and Charlee Hughes.