DESPITE missing several key players, Harwich's under-14s showed the depth of their squad as their excellent end-of-season form continued with a hard-earned victory over joint second place Tiptree Blues.

It was an even start to the game for the opening ten minutes but Harwich looked dangerous on the counter and a good cross from Jenson Goode found Jerome Gardner, who coolly finished from 12 yards with a low drive to the keeper's left.

Harwich then reverted to 4-5-1 to combat the Tiptree midfield and increased their lead shortly before half-time when Charlie Smith stabbed the ball home from close range at the second attempt.

Chances went begging for both sides in the second half as Smith saw a couple of speculative shots go over the bar and keeper Josh Fowler tipped a penalty against the post.

However, Harwich dealt the killer blow when man-of-the-match Gardner, who was a handful all game, outpaced the Tiptree defence to slot the ball past the advancing keeper to seal the points.

There were impressive performances from Kobe Ayling, Nathan Mann, Ryan Bradley and Jenson Goode, in midfield, as Harwich have now defeated three of the top four teams in the last few weeks, scoring 13 and conceding only one.