Imrul Gazi delighted to avoid replay with Stowmarket Town as Sporting Bengal United leave it late to seal FA Vase success
- Credit: Archant
Mile End Stadium club scored just before 90 minute mark to force extra time and then struck just before 120 minutes to progress to next round
Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi was relieved to see Ashaan Siddik score an extra time winner against Stowmarket Town on Saturday in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase.
The Mile End Stadium club dominated for large parts, but gave away a penalty in the first half and were trailing at the break.
A late spot-kick from Shiblu Miah ensured extra time took place between Bengal and the Eastern Counties League Division One outfit.
With the game set to finish level after 120 minutes of play and meaning a replay on Tuesday would be needed, Siddik popped up to score.
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“I was dreading going to Stowmarket for the replay. With five minutes left I was thinking about having to go there on the Tuesday and not looking forward to it,” said Gazi.
“Ashaan then scores and had three opportunities as well for the goal and eventually it managed to go in.
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“The first one come to him and his header was saved by the goalkeeper who had a great match.
“And then the second rebounded to him and his third effort was a mis kick, but it went in thankfully.”
But if it wasn’t for the coolness of Miah, then Bengal might have exited the Vase in normal time.
The experienced striker fired home from the penalty spot and it allowed for another extra 30 minutes at the Mile End Stadium.
Gazi added: “Shiblu has been good for us, he has scored three goals in the four games he has played and three in a row now.
“He can hold it up and has pace. He’s 28 or 29 so is one of the oldest in our team and brings good maturity.”
Another thing that impressed the Bengal boss was the commitment and determination of his players.
They kept going for the full 120 minutes despite being forced to play extra time with nine men due to making all of their substitutes and then suffering injuries.
“I have to give massive credit to the boys because, even in the FA Cup match at Kings Langley, we never give up,” said Gazi.
“We always play for the whole match and we switch off at times and conceded, but we never stop and it was pleasing to see us get another late winner.
“The last two games, in the Essex Senior League against London Bari and on Saturday, I’ve seen we are moving in the right direction.”