The dream of a Wembley final is over for this season after Gateshead ended the Stones’ run in the FA Trophy.
After a 309-mile journey, the Stones started the game brightly with Joe Anderson, Andre Coker and Jamar Loza combining well down the left.
With 10 minutes gone, Heed keeper James Montgomery was adjudged to have fouled Seth Nana Twumasi and referee Matthew Donohue pointed to the spot.
It was at the same end that Jai Reason had his penalty saved 10 days earlier, so up stepped Jamar Loza to do the honours. His effort was palmed away by Montgomery, much to the delight of the Heed Army.
Things went from bad to worse minutes later. Fraser Kerr was tripped by Delano Sam-Yorke, who was already on a booking, and from the resulting free kick Neill Byrne tapped home the opener.
The Stones went on to have the better of the opening half. Loza made a good run up the right and put an inviting cross into the six-yard box but no one was there to head home the equaliser.
With half an hour gone, Sam-Yorke made a great solo run towards goal. Montgomery came out of his goal to block the angle and gather the ball.
Josh Hare was called into action just before the break when Paddy McLaughlin crossed into the area. He prevented Richard Peniket getting to the ball and having an opportunity to double the Heed’s lead.
The Stones emerged from the break fired up and Sam-Yorke had an early opportunity to equalise. After his shot was parried, Anderson was caught up in a goalmouth scramble but couldn’t get a shot away.
With an hour gone, Sam-Yorke had another chance to get on the scoresheeet. After a surging run he went for goal only to find Montgomery in his way again.
Maidstone’s push for an equaliser was undone after 73 minutes when McLaughlin added a second for the hosts after latching on to Peniket’s through ball.
Peniket went from provider to scorer with minutes remaining, with a low shot past Lee Worgan.
With that it was Gateshead who booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy and the Stones were left wondering what might have been had that early penalty been coverted.
Gateshead: Neill Byrne 15, Paddy McLaughlin 73, Richard Peniket 86
Maidstone United: –
Gateshead: James Montgomery, Fraser Kerr, Neill Byrne, Jamal Fyfield, Scott Barrow (Callum Williams 82), Wes York, Rees Greenwood (Jordan Preston 55), Paddy McLaughlin, Russell Penn, Lewis McNall (Jordan Burrow 64), Richard Peniket. Subs not used: Iain Macleod, Danny Johnson
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Josh Hare, Alex Wynter, Magnus Okuonghae, Jamar Loza (Jack Paxman 58), Staurt Lewis, Delano Sam-Yorke (Johan ter Horst 72), Joe Anderson, Jai Reason, Seth Nana Twumasi, Andre Coker (Darius Osei 77). Subs not used: Ollie Muldoon, Elliott Capel