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IMAGE SOURCE,ROSS BENNETT Ross Bennett found himself drafted in as an unlikely fourth official

An under-12s referee has told of the "once in a lifetime" moment he found himself officiating an FA Cup tie - and couldn't celebrate his team's winning goal.

Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder Ross Bennett was plucked from the stands during extra-time of his side's 3-2 victory over Brentford at Molineux on Tuesday.

An assistant suffered an injury during the match which prompted qualified referee Mr Bennett to stand in as fourth official.

The dad was given a crash course in how to use the substitutes board before he was handed an earpiece and put to work during the third round replay.
Mr Bennett, from Bewdley, Worcestershire, had attended the match with his 11-year-old son.

He told referee Andrew Madley he could step in following the injury to the official.

He did not have to provide any qualifications and, when asked if he could work the board, he said he replied "give me a crash course and I'll do it."

'What the chances of this ever happening?'

The father, whose son watched on from the stands, had previously refereed youth team games.

He said he embraced the situation and knew it was a rare opportunity.

"I just thought what the chances of this ever happening?" he added.

Mr Bennett said he remained professional throughout despite his son winding him up from the stands and Brentford staff bombarding him with questions.

The real challenge arrived when the winner was scored to set up a fourth round derby trip to West Bromwich Albion on 28 January.

"I was just gutted that I couldn't celebrate our goal," Mr Bennett laughed. "I had to stay neutral.

"Inside I'm screaming thinking 'I'm off to the Hawthorns in less than two weeks'.

"I thought 'I'm the only Wolves fan in here not celebrating'."

Mr Bennett was later invited into the referee's room despite having to be up for work at 04:30 GMT the next day.

"It's a once in a lifetime thing and it's never going to come about again," he added.

"I hope the original [fourth official] is okay. It still doesn't feel real that it happened."


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