FC Halifax Town 2 Maidstone United 1

The match winning moment when Gareth Seddon fired Town into round three (photograph by Darren Murphy)
The match winning moment when Gareth Seddon fired Town into round three (photograph by Darren Murphy)
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Town left it late to avoid an unwanted FA Trophy replay at Maidstone after Gareth Seddon’s goal deep into stoppage time

The night started so well for Town, who were ahead after five minutes when Gareth Seddon nodded in Jason St Juste’s cross.

Town looked by far the better team in the opening exchanges but the Stones, who play two divisions below the Shaymen, hit back mid way through the first half when Alex Brown turned home from close range after Matt Glennon spilled Michael Phillips free-kick.

From then on it was a much closer contest, with both sides wasting chances to win it.

But the game, which had to be postponed last Saturday, looked destined to end in a draw until the 93rd minute, when Seddon turned in Chris Worsley’s low cross to snatch the points.

Neil Aspin gave Dan Gardner a first start behind Seddon and Gregory as he came in for the injured Dale Johnson - who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Jason Jarrett also returned in place of Chris Worsley for the only other change from the 1-0 win at Worcester.

Gardner showed some nice touches in the opening minutes, and it was his good work which eventually lead to Town opening the scoring.

After turning his man and releasing St Juste down the left, the full back got his cross in at the second attempt which was calmly headed back across goal by the unmarked Seddon for a fifth minute lead.

Seddon’s cross a minute after the re-start was just behind Liam Needham, and Gregory blazed over from range shortly afterwards as Town looked to finish Maidstone off early.

Seddon then had his appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Coy when the striker looked to be blocked off after nutmegging his man - but that moment seemed to kick start the visitors.

Alex Brown headed wide and Warren Whiteley blazed over from close range as the Stones started to threaten.

And it wasn’t against the run of play when they levelled, Brown reacting first when Matt Glennon spilled a 20 yard free-kick to the delight of the Maidstone fans who had made the long journey up from Kent.

Tim Olorunda and Graeme Andrews both wasted half chances from set-pieces swung into the Town box as the visitors, now brimming with confidence, looked to grab the lead - and they would have had St Juste not cleared an Andrews header off the line from another corner, before Glennon saved another shot seconds later.

Brown looked by far Maidstone’s most creative player and he rode successive challenges from Jarrett and Worthington before feeding Ian Draycott, who couldn’t take the ball in his stride and eventually ballooned his shot over.

Town struggled to create another chance - St Juste, whose delivery from set pieces in recent weeks has been superb, swinging two corners straight into the side netting as frustration began to creep in.

And Town were fortunate to go in level when Olorunda rose unchallenged again, this time powering is header narrowly over.

Chris Worsley replaced Gardner, who faded after a bright start and understandably looked off the pace, at the break, and both he and Needham fired wide at the start of the half as Town looked to start brightly.

Gregory, almost anonymous in the first half, then beat the offside trap but was closed down by Andrews as he looked set to pull the trigger and the ball rolled out for a corner.

But Maidstone cleared - and then launched a counter of their own which saw Draycott’s effort bounce back onto him after a Danny Lowe block and trickle harmlessly out for a goal kick.

Needham then screwed another left foot effort wide after being fed by Seddon as a good chance went begging before St Juste, who moved into midfield with 20 minutes to go, free-kick was deflected clear.

Town then had a second penalty appeal turned down when Gregory looked to be clipped as he turned to shoot inside the six yard box, and Seddon somehow headed wide from five yards after great work by St Juste.

A poor touch by Brown at the other end denied him a chance to shoot in what was by now a rare venture forward for the visitors.

Lowe then blazed another fantastic chance over from inside the six yard box as he fired McManus teasing cross high into the South Stand with just over 10 minutes to go.

Deren Ibrahim then denied St Juste at the near post before Seddon won it at the death to set up a third round tie at home to Chelmsford City in the new year.

FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Toulson, St Juste, Hogan, Jarrett (McManus, 71 mins), Lowe, Worthington, Needham, Gardner (Worsley, 46 mins), Gregory, Seddon. Unused subs: Senior, Bolland, Qualter.

Maidstone United: Ibrahim, Osbourne, Milla, Humphrey, Andrews, Olorunda, Phillips, Brown, Draycott, Woolery, Whiteley. Unused subs: Pavey, Johnson, Simon, French, Foster-Crouch

Attendance: 747 of which 37 from Maidstone)

Goals: Seddon (5, 93) Brown (22)