HARWICH and Parkeston bowed out of the FA Vase at the first qualifying round stage following a 2-1 home defeat against Ipswich Wanderers, at the Gwinnell and Sons Royal Oak, writes TERRY FRANCIS.

It had been a traumatic week for the Shrimpers with Michael Wallace stepping down from the role of first-team manager after the 4-1 defeat at Holland FC.

But the team can be proud of their efforts against high flyers Ipswich.

Assistant manager Gary Kioussis stepped up to work in tandem with skipper Gareth Heath, who acted as on-the-field player-manager.

The Shrimpers were further depleted by late call-offs.

Central defender Nathan Kioussis and midfielder Mark Palmer came into the starting line-up from the reserves and both enjoyed excellent games.

Wanderers took an early lead through Kris Rose but Harwich battled hard and were rewarded when Heath scored with a superbly-taken 30-yard free-kick.

With a considerable budget, Ipswich Wanderers have only been defeated once in the League and are expected to be title contenders.

But the Shrimpers refused to give them space to play and half-time came with the scores level.

Harwich continued to give a good account of themselves and the Wanderers knew that they were in a real cup-tie battle.

Heath ran his socks off whilst encouraging his team-mates and kept the visitors defence on their toes.

Wanderers hit the crossbar twice but with time running out and the scores deadlocked it seemed that the tie would go straight to a penalty shoot out to decide the outcome.

Then in the final minutes the ball eluded the Harwich defenders and with goalkeeper Brad Cook advancing, George Mrozek snatched victory for the Wanderers.

The Harwich players were deservedly applauded by their supporters, for every single one of them had given everything for the badge.

Harwich entertain Barkingside at the Gwinnell & Sons Royal Oak on Saturday, kick-off 3pm whilst the Reserves travel to Gosfield United.