Stoppage time strike from super-sub Bennett secures Ascot United FA Vase replayBy Lewis Rudd
February 16, 2013
Ascot United's historic run in the FA Vase continues as a stoppage time strike from substitute Jon Bennett secured the Yellamen a deserved fifth round replay with Newport (IOW).
Bennett turned home Jack Smillie's right-wing centre at the far post in the 95th minute, sparking jubilant scenes among the majority of the 474 crowd and taking the contest to extra-time.
The additional 30 minutes was unable to separate the two sides, meaning they will do it all again at the Racecourse Ground on Tuesday night.
Having dominated the early exchanges, Ascot fell behind when Newport's Jon Holmes headed home a James Butt cross in the 16th minute.
The hosts then suffered a blow when captain Dave Hancock limped off with an injury, with Joe Yeates taking his place.
But things then went from bad to worse for Ascot on the half-hour mark, when player/manager Jeff Lamb was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Holmes.
The dismissal, though, appeared to spring United into life, and minutes before the break they were level, courtesy of a scrambled finish from Ben Knight.
A surging run from the impressive Dave Hoar saw him work his way to the byline, where he sent over a teasing cross which caused confusion in the Newport six-yard box.
With visiting keeper Gary Streeter unable to pounce on the ball and two fellow defenders failing to clear it, Knight was on hand to stab home on the rebound from all but a yard out.
Some neat play then allowed Rob Saunders to try his luck from just outside the box, but his powerful drive was well held by Streeter.
Minutes into the second half, however, and the Isle of Wight outfit were back in front.
An Iain Seabrook free-kick from the left found the head of an unmarked Tom McInnes, who looped the ball over the head of Chris Grace from 10 yards.
Newport later had chances to kill off the game as the contest became stretched, but they were unable to find another way past Grace.
Facing elimination from the competition, assistant manager Paul McGrotty introduced both Saunders and Andy Lumb as Ascot threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser.
But it was centre-half Justin Clayton who came closest to finding a leveller, with his late header from a Rob Saunders set-piece dropping agonisingly wide of Streeter's left-hand post.
The latter, though, was beaten for a second time moments later.
Having failed to clear their lines from another aerial assault, Smillie sent a low ball across the face of goal, which a stretched Bennett converted to take an already absorbing encounter into extra-time.
Cramp and fatigue was evident among the hosts following almost 90 minutes of playing with the numerical disadvantage.
However, United comfortably held out to secure a second shot of booking a place in the quarter-finals of the Vase.
A delighted McGrotty believes Tuesday's replay cannot come soon enough.
The assistant manager said: "We didn't start that great and after the sending off it just got very emotional and became draining.
"When you look at it we are very pleased to come away with the draw after being down to 10 men, so we will regroup and get ready for Tuesday.
"To be honest I thought it (the replay) was on Saturday, but Tuesday is probably pleasing because the momentum is with us and I think it is one of those let it come straight away moments.
"There is a great atmosphere about the place and everyone is buzzing."
Ascot United: Grace, Smillie, Boddy (Lunn), Wadieh, Clayton, Hancock (Yeates), Hoar, Lamb, Knight, Saunders, Boon (Bennett). Subs not used: Brooks, Warren.