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Last Updated: Friday, 19 December, 2003, 10:25 GMT
Sestanovich lives the dream
By Andrew McKenzie

Ashley Sestanovich
The FA Cup has a habit of producing unlikely heroes.

Ashley Sestanovich helped carry on that tradition in the second round with the winning goal as Scarborough knocked out Second Division Port Vale.

It was his first goal in professional football and his performance earned him the FA Cup Player of the Round award.

The midfielder, who is on loan at the Seasiders from First Division Sheffield United, could probably claim to be the most travelled 22-year-old in the game.

He spent time with Manchester City and Millwall as a teenager before spells in Belgium with Antwerp and Metz in France.

But rather than kick-starting his career, the move abroad almost led to the south London-born midfielder giving up the game.

"I got some bad advice from a few people," he told BBC Sport.

Every player dreams of playing in the FA Cup and to score the winning goal was unbelievable
Ashley Sestanovich
"I could have signed a professional contract in England but was persuaded to go abroad and then got messed about by an agent.

"I love football. It's my life, but I just wasn't feeling football at that time."

Sestanovich returned to England and took up an offer to play for non-league side Hampton and Richmond.

"I wasn't looking to get into a club but people came down to watch me and I started to enjoy my football again," he added.

"I went to Stockport and then Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock was at one of the games. I spoke to him and liked what he said to me."

Sestanovich, whose mother is from Croatia and father from the Caribbean island of Grenada, is now in his second month on loan at the McCain Stadium.

While he is enjoying his time with Russell Slade's side, he is hoping the experience will help improve his chances of making the grade with the Blades.

I met Thierry Henry when I was filming an advert for a Nike commercial in Rome and I played the part of his body double
Ashley Sestanovich
Wherever his future lies, he will always have the memory of his second round goal - but he is not ruling out the Conference side pulling off another shock in the next stage.

"Every player dreams of playing in the FA Cup and to score the winning goal was unbelievable. Words just can't describe the feeling," he added.

"It would have been a dream come true to get a big team but we're still in FA Cup and we fancy our chances against Southend, so if we get past them we might get a big fish."

For the boyhood Arsenal fan, the dream draw would be a fourth-round tie against the Gunners and an unlikely reunion with one of his footballing idols.

"I met Thierry Henry when I was filming an advert for a Nike commercial in Rome and I played the part of his body double," said Sestanovich.

"I met all the players - the likes of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Luis Enrique were all there.

"Sylvain Wiltord, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry were there from Arsenal and it was great to see them face-to-face - but I would like to meet them on the pitch at some point.

"The FA Cup does have a habit of throwing up all sorts of surprises."

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