Maidstone United 3-2 Woking
Maidstone United 3-2 Woking

On an incredibly wet night at the Gallagher, Maidstone United certainly proved that where there’s a “Will”, there’s a way, as Will De Havilland’s header five minutes from the end of extra time keeps Harry Wheeler’s side in the FA Trophy.

On a night more open to staying indoors, the 602 hardy souls who braved a very soggy Maidstone night, saw the National League strugglers lead through Michael Phillips’ looping header before Aaron Eyoma levelled just before half time. Wheeler’s words of magic worked wonders as Jake Cassidy restored the lead within minutes of the restart.

The tie was sent to Extra Time eleven minutes from time when Woking sub Paul Hodges volleyed home when a cross wasn’t cleared. And so the extra half an hour, and just as the soaked Stones faithful had resigned themselves to a shoot out, up stepped De Havilland to win the tie and set up an Second Round tie with either Maidenhead United or Oxford City, whose tie fell victim of the weather – did someone mention 4G pitches?

Both sides naturally struggled early on as Elliott Romain shot wide for the home side before Noel Leighton fired wide for the visitors.

The home side took the lead when Phillips got on the end of Sean Shields’ pin point cross.

Woking responded well and Christian Jolley will be disappointed not to have connected with Leighton’s cross better than heading straight across goal, before Jack Powell couldn’t repeat Phillips’ heroics as he powered another terrific Shields cross high over the bar.

Woking though did draw level just before the break when Leighton did well on the edge of the box before squaring for Eyoma who beat Ross Worner with some aplomb.

The Stones trooped off at half time looking frustrated, but manager Wheeler’s words of wonder then saw Cassidy crash the home side back in front inside two minutes of the restart.

As the half wore on, the home side looked more and more comfortable to accept and defend what they had, and as they sat further and further back, Woking came more and more into the game and only Greg Luer didn’t hit the target from Toby Edser’s through ball.

But with just eleven minutes left, the home defence couldn’t clear a ball in from the left and Hodges gave Worner no chance at all.

And so as the rain continued to pour, the game went into Extra Time, and Worner pulled off a fine save to deny Hodges as the Woking sub connected with Josh Casey’s pass.

Max Kretzschmar started the second period with a shot wind assisted from the half way line that dropped a yard to the right of the home goal.

The game was at its most open and Shields had a shot blocked before Edser’s diving header flew wide. Five minutes from time, De Havilland was on hand to send the Stones through, and it could have been even better in the closing stages as Woking keeper Craig Ross twice made terrific saves – one brilliantly at his near post and the second with his left boot – to deny the luckless Romain.

Maidstone then are through and hopefully will be able to take some confidence from this win into what will be a crucial Christmas for Wheeler and his side.

 

Maidstone United line up: Worner, Phillips, Walton, McLennan, Shields, Paxman (Paxman 118 mins), Powell (Swaine 102mins), Tajbakhsh (De Havilland 67mins), Wishart, Cassidy, Romain.

Subs not used: Strizovic, Edobor.

Goals: Michael Phillips 34, Jake Cassidy 47, Will de Havilland 116.

Woking line up: Ross, Collier, Casey, Cook, Gerring, Jolley, Luer (Hester-Cook 104), Edser, Leighton (Hodges 69), Kretzschmar, Eyoma (Wheeler 77).

Subs not used: Spence, Schotterl. 

Goals: Aaron Eyoma 42, Paul Hodges 80.

Attendance: 602 (Woking 32).


 
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