HOLLAND FC reaped the rewards from a blistering start as they defeated Little Oakley 2-0 to book their place in the First Division Knockout Cup quarter-finals.

Early goals from Keelan Sorrell and Steve Eaton put the hosts on the road to victory and set up a last-eight encounter at Whitton United.

Both strikes came in the first ten minutes.

First, Eaton was fouled in the area and Sorrell confidently slotted his low penalty beyond keeper Luke Tynan.

Then Eaton connected with a long ball forward and lifted the ball over the onrushing Acorns shot-stopper.

The rest of the tie was fast and furious but there were few notable chances.

Ben Hammond saw a close-range effort from a corner cleared just in front of the line by Sorrell.

Oakley substitute Harry Mann dragged a low shot from the right wide of the far post in the second half.

And Holland’s Jamie Guy went even closer right at the death, turning and volleying a powerful effort against the bar.

However, with no further goals, it was the hosts who safely marched on in the Thurlow Nunn League competition.

They had received a bye in the first round while Oakley won 2-0 at AFC Sudbury Reserves on December 5.

Jon Willis and Rob Batten’s side will now be striving to become the first Essex winners of the cup since Brightlingsea Regent lifted the silverware in 2013.

Former Colchester United striker Guy was a high-profile name in Holland’s starting line-up, having joined the coastal club and made his debut in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Framlingham Town.

Eaton also scored in that match but the defeat left Holland 13th in the table, one point and three places above Oakley heading into tonight’s encounter at the Rush Green Bowl.

However, Holland have five games in hand on their Tendring neighbours and their next three matches are all away from the Bowl.

They head to AFC Sudbury Reserves on Saturday, followed by a trip to Norwich CBS on January 20.

Three days later they make short journey to Oakley’s Memorial Ground for a rearranged league game that was postponed just after Christmas.

The Acorns, who won 3-2 against Sudbury’s reserves last weekend, are away to Leiston Reserves on Saturday.

They have no game on January 20.