United denied a way through
ASHFORD UTD 1
DUNSTON UTS 1
The safe hands of Dunston goalkeeper Liam Connell stood between Ashford United and a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Vase on Saturday.
Skipper Connell and his deputy Andrew Clark are the only two members of the 2012 Wembley-winning team still at the Northern League club and no doubt keen to return there again in May.
Seven minutes of extra-time remained at Homelands, when United top scorer Paul Booth received the ball just outside the box, moved forward and hit a rising effort, only for Connell to pluck it out of the air.
United substitute Seb Schoburgh sliced another effort wide soon after, both sides pressing for a late equaliser, before referee Carl Brook’s whistle ended proceedings.
Assistant boss Shaun Welford gave United the best possible start, heading them in front after only 10 minutes.
The ball broke to Taser Hassan and his perfect cross was met by Welford, who headed home inside Connell’s left hand post for his 19th goal of the season.
United defended well against the twin threat of top scorer Malky Morien and Steve Richardson, with keeper George Kamurasi a spectator for most of the first 45 minutes, until making two crucial saves just before half-time, saving low to his right to foil Alex Francis and then at the feet of Richardson.
Ryan Palmer tricked his way into the box a minute after the restart, settingup Welford whose shot was blocked.
Dunston lost injured defender Dan Halliday soon after but his replacement Aristote Guerin stepped off the bench to make a real impact with the 63rdminute equaliser.
United were caught out at the back by a quick break, and Morien played in Guerin to calmly shoot home.
Richardson went close twice, Kamurasi stopped another effort by Stephen Harrison and Morien put another effort wide into the box.
Michael Phillips and Dale Burrell were both booked in an injury-time flare-up after the Dunston man stopped the United skipper taking a quick throw-in.
Chances came and went in extra-time. Morien went close twice, one effort flashing wide of the post.
Homelands then held its breath as Booth shaped to shoot, with the tie there for the taking but Connell was equal to it.
Ashford’s Mikey Dalton closed down by Dunston at Homelands