Bennett brace sends Ascot United FC into FA Vase quarter finals
Published: 21 Feb 2013 10:300 comments
It wasn't a vintage performance by the Yellamen but it was the timings of the goals that proved crucial.
Both were struck by talismanic striker Jon Bennett, the first just before half time and the second in the final quarter following a sustained period of pressure by the visitors.
The win capped off quite a week for Bennett, who scored the dramatic equaliser on Saturday and then netted in each half at the Racecourse on Tuesday.
He tweeted: "Carlsberg don't do 4 days in the life of a striker, but if they did..."
An ecstatic Bennett told the News: "I'm really happy to be in the quarter-final of the FA Vase.
"We knew they were beatable today and we just had to apply ourselves and go for it.
"We didn't hit our best but I thought we were comfortable."
Ironically it was because of Dave Hoar's injury that he made the starting line-up, as Hoar has an infected foot.
There were few clear-cut chances in the opening 45 minutes but the home side just shaded it, with Ben Knight striking narrowly wide from distance after 24 minutes.
Newport were a threat going forward though and came closest to opening the scoring on the half-hour mark when a swerving effort from Alex Przspoleski rattled the top of the crossbar.
The Yellamen finally took the lead in the 42nd minute when a cross from the left found its way to Bennett, who took it past the defender and poked it home.
After the break, Jack Smillie was in the thick of the action as his fiercely-struck shot was batted away by Newport keeper Gary Streeter.
However, moments later he breathed a sigh of relief when he was caught out at the back and the resultant Newport strike fizzed just wide of the far post.
Manager Jeff Lamb said: "I don't think we played as well as we could have, there were a few tired legs out there. I thought Newport were a better outfit than Saturday.
"In the end, it was a question of digging in and doing what we needed to do. I was disappointed with the goal we conceded. We thought it was won and we switched off."
Port enjoyed long periods of possession without threatening the Ascot goal and it was a classic counter attack by the Yellamen that sealed the game.
Philippine international Rob Gier, who came on as a second-half substitute for Smillie, produced an excellent run and cross for Bennett to slide onto at the far post and give Ascot a two-goal cushion with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Bennett then spurned a glorious opportunity for his third - his pace getting him past the defender, only to blaze a shot over the bar.
Newport immediately went down the other end and pulled a goal back when Przspoleski shot from the edge of the area on 79 minutes.
But it was Bennett who almost had the last say once again, this time pulling his shot agonisingly wide after rounding the keeper.
"I was just praying for the ref to blow the final whistle so I wouldn't rue those missed chances," said Bennett.
The Yellamen travel to AFC Shildon in County Durham for the quarter-final clash on March 2 with £3,500 in prize money up for grabs.
**Don't forget to pick up a copy of the Bracknell News on Thursday for exclusive interviews and reaction from Ascot United's historic win***
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