Ashley Sestanovich, a 22-year-old winger on loan from Sheffield United, earned the Nationwide Conference side Scarborough a third-round FA Cup place with the goal that knocked out Second Division Port Vale at an icy Vale Park yesterday.
The London-born player, for whom United manager Neil Warnock signed from Hampton and Richmond Borough for £10,000 in March, drilled home the winner 10 minutes from time after a well-organised display of counter-attacking by the non-Leaguers.
It means Scarborough, who beat Third Division Doncaster in the first round, now have a chance to claim a third Nationwide League scalp, Southend United.
Having needed two attempts to see off the Ryman League side Ford United in the first round, Vale were more than wary of the threat posed by their Conference opponents, who also knocked them out of the LDV Vans Trophy in October, and did not rise to the challenge. "There were players out there who did not earn their wages and that's not good enough," said their manager, Brian Horton, who was playing for Vale when these sides last met in the FA Cup 30 years ago.
Managed by the former Notts County and Northampton coach, Russell Slade, Scarborough have been among the Conference strugglers for the last two seasons, but raised their game enough yesterday to pose problems for the Second Division side.
None the less, Vale should have taken the lead after 31 minutes of an even first half when a slip by Matt Redmile allowed a Michael Cummins pass to reach the striker Steve McPhee. The Scot, looking for his 12th goal of the season, had only the goalkeeper, Leigh Walker, to beat but his chip skewed wide of the target. Walker then denied the Vale defender Andreas Lipa, tipping his header over the bar.
In the second half, it was the Vale goal that suffered a string of scares as the pace of the forwards Mark Quayle and Clint Marcelle, once of Barnsley, tested their defence. Quayle had a header tipped over and Sestanovich prompted another finger-tip save with a long-range shot.
Scarborough's tactic of defending deep put their own goal under pressure but it paid dividends 10 minutes from time when another rapid breakaway saw Scott Kerr send Sestanovich clear on the right: the winger drew Brain off his line before slotting home the decisive goal. As Slade said: "We came with a game plan and it paid off for us in the end."
Goal: Sestanovich (80) 0-1.
Port Vale (4-4-2): Brain; Pilkington, Burns (Birchall 56), Collins, Reid; Cummins, Lipa (Brisco 76), Boyd (Bridge-Wilkinson 76), Littlejohn; McPhee, Paynter. Substitutes not used: Goodlad (g-k), Rowland.
Scarborough (4-4-2): Walker; Lyth, Cryan, Redmile, Hotte; Sestanovich, Kerr, Kelly, Gill; Quayle, Marcelle. Substitutes not used: Senior, Williams, Downey, Rose, Price.
Referee: F Stratton (Notts).
Bookings: Scarborough: Lyth.
Man of the match: Sestanovich.
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