Saturday 6 December // FA Cup Second Round // Attendance: 3,093 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s amazing FA Cup adventure has ended in North Wales after they came up against a very strong Wrexham team.
Whilst Welling United and Stevenage never really looked like sides playing at a much higher level in the pyramid compared with the Stones, the Red Dragons did and they ended up enjoying 62% of possession as they put Maidstone under concerted pressure for long periods of time.
The Stones put up good resistance though and they even managed to test Joe Flatt on a couple of occasions before Alex Flisher gave Maidstone hope when he halved the deficit with just over an hour played. However, having been reduced to ten men as Aaron Simpson had been dismissed, the Stones were always going face an uphill battle to draw level and when Andy Bishop glanced in a header with just three minutes left, it was clear that Maidstone would be left to concentrate on the league.
Right from the outset, Wrexham looked the stronger of the two sides. Lee Worgan was called into action early on when he held a shot from Wes York following a Connor Jennings cross. York was then involved again when the Stones couldn’t clear his deep cross and Andy Bishop steered his effort just wide of the left hand post.
With seven minutes played, Mark Carrington got in behind the Maidstone defence only to be denied by Worgan’s legs and when the ball came back in, Jennings headed the ball across the face of goal. Wrexham kept on pushing and Worgan soon had to stretch to deny York after he had cut inside Sonny Miles.
But with 14 minutes played, the Stones came close to taking the lead against the run of play. Jack Parkinson picked out Flisher whose fierce drive drew a fine save from Flatt and then from the rebound, Jay May was unable to direct his header in from a tricky angle.
Unfortunately for the Stones, their resistance was broken just five minutes later. Worgan appeared to be fouled as he tried to get his hands to Neil Ashton’s corner and despite falling backwards, Manny Smith managed to crash a shot in off the underside of the crossbar
York then got in again not long after the opener but he headed wide when well placed before the Stones came close to equalising. Tom Mills crossed to Parkinson and his drilled shot was heading in until Flatt intervened with a decent save.
Just before half time, Maidstone’s defence stood off allowing Wrexham to flow forwards. Ashton crossed for Joe Clarke but he steered his header just wide.
The game continued in a similar manner in the second half. With 49 minutes played, Wrexham opened the Stones up but Bishop wastefully lofted his shot wide of the left hand post.
Maidstone nearly made the home side pay for this miss two minutes later. A long throw into the box from Flisher was met by Parkinson and his header thumped off the middle of the crossbar.
Then with 55 minutes played, Parkinson put Flisher in down the right hand side. The Maidstone winger was under pressure from three Wrexham players and he elected to shoot as Flatt came off his line but the Red Dragon’s keeper got a foot to the ball.
It wasn’t long before play swung to the other end and Maidstone’s task got even harder when Aaron Simpson brought down York inside the box. Simpson was sent off and Bishop confidently sent the penalty into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Despite going down to ten men, the Stones began enjoy a decent spell of possession and they pulled a goal back on 63 minutes. A smart move saw Rogers and Flisher exchange passes and Rogers squared the ball to Flisher who finished from close range.
Unfortunately for the Stones though, Wrexham weathered this mini storm and it was the home side who looked more likely to score again as the game moved into its later stages. With 71 minutes played, Smith’s header appeared to be blocked close to the line and then Bishop dragged a good opportunity wide of the post.
Rogers then threatened to curl the ball in from just outside the box for the Stones but the ball went inches wide and then with three minutes left, Wrexham made certain of their place in the Third Round. James Pearson sent over a pin point cross from the right and Bishop arrowed his header into the net to book the home side’s place in the draw on Monday.
Wrexham: Manny Smith 19, Andy Bishop 57 (pen), 87.
Maidstone United: Alex Flisher 63
Wrexham: Joe Flatt, Mark Carrington, Neil Ashton, Manny Smith, Blaine Hudson, Joe Clarke, Jay Harris (Elliott Durrell 90), Andy Bishop, Wes York (Louis Moult 76), Ross White (James Pearson 85), Connor Jennings. Subs not used: Steve Tomassen, Nick Rushton, Gray, Jonny Hunt.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Alex Brown 78), Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Richard Davies 60), Frannie Collin (Mark Lovell 76), Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Bradley Jordan, Ben Greenhalgh, Alfie Kitt, Will Godmon.