WHILE he was quick to acknowledge that his team were a bit fortunate to still be in the FA Cup, Witham Town manager Mark Benterman was more than happy that it would be them that was travelling to Stamford AFC on Saturday rather than FC Clacton.

Just had been the case when Witham and Clacton met for the first time in their preliminary round tie, it was the Seasiders who were left with a feeling of what might have been after their replay at the Simarco Stadium ended in a 3-2 win for the hosts.

Despite playing more than 100 minutes with ten men, Clacton twice led and it needed a last-minute equalising goal for Witham to force the game into extra-time, when George Bugg finally delivered the decisive blow to take them into the first qualifying round.

Benterman was quick to heap praise on Clacton for the way they made his team work hard for their win, but he said the bottom line was what mattered in a results business and was relieved to see Town pick up the prize money that will boost the club coffers by at least £4,300.

The Town boss said: “We’ve only been together for 12 weeks and I know I keep harping on about it, but Clacton have a fantastic squad that’s been together for 18 months to two years.

“There were two poor goals from our point of view and that’s something we have to work on and iron out, but that’s what can happen when you have a new group like we’ve got.

“Did we make hard work of it?

“They made us make hard work of it and I have to praise them again as I did after the first game.

“Their work effort and desire made it look like there wasn’t ten versus 11 out there.

“I know our fans were frustrated at times but when you have people working as hard as they were to cut the deficit down, there’s not going to be much in it.

“We all know ten men work hard and when you have their work ethic, it’s very tough.

“I was disappointed with some of our boys, but we’re in the next round of the FA Cup and that’s the key thing.

“We can all play fantastic football and lose games.

“We did that against Tilbury at the weekend; we were outstanding for 89 minutes, should have got a penalty and won the game, but ended up losing.

“The crux of it is that this is a results industry.

“You can play well, get no results and lose your job or you grind it out and get a win.

“So I’m absolutely delighted for my boys.

“I was disappointed for (FC Clacton manager) Tom (Austin) as his team deserved to be in the next round of the FA Cup over the two games but they didn’t do enough over those two games.

“They had their chances in that first game, but Lady Luck looked down on us in the replay.

“We didn’t have that on Saturday (against Tilbury) but we did this time.

“At the end of the day, it’s a results industry, we’re in the next round and it’s important money for the club from the prize money.

“It’s £4,300 guaranteed and that’s huge for us.

“It’s probably a quarter of what my budget is for the whole season, so it’s massive for the club and the players.

“No disrespect to Stamford, but I couldn’t care who we have now because we are still in it and you have to be in it to win it.

“We could easily be having a free weekend but we don’t and we go again in the FA Cup, which is great for this club."