Ashley watched the game from the directors' box for the first time this year and then held talks with the Spaniard after the final whistle, Press Association Sport understands.
The Magpies hierarchy will have been left in no doubt over their urgency to strike a new deal with Benitez, the manager they want to steer them through next season's Championship campaign.
Benitez's name was chanted throughout the game as his side produced one of their best performances of the season despite being reduced to 10 men midway through the second half.
And he admitted his rapturous reception would make it harder for him to decide to walk away as he continues to consider his options.
Benitez said: "I was expecting the fans to get behind the team and support me but it has been amazing. I was open to talk and now I am more open to talk.
"It is not easy to leave a club like this and I will talk and analyse and try to do the best for me and the best for Newcastle United. It has got to be the best for both."
Benitez had admitted during his post-match press conference that he had yet to speak to Ashley, but was expecting to discuss his future with chief executive Lee Charnley in the week ahead.
But Ashley was clearly on a mission to take the initiative, with a number of other big clubs already being linked with a move for the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss.
Benitez has clearly been impressed by the affection afforded him by Newcastle supporters despite his failure to save them from relegation.
He added: "We are really disappointed because we couldn't stay up, but really happy that we gave the fans something to enjoy today. Since I've been here in terms of effort and hard work you can say nothing (negative) about these players."