FC Halifax Town 7-4 Maidenhead United: Shaymen through to FA Cup second round after goal-fest
FC Halifax Town progressed to the second round of the FA Cup after an astonishing 7-4 win over Maidenhead at The Shay.
It would probably be quicker to list who didn't score, with Tyrell Warren, Josh Kelly, Matty Warburton and Emile Acquah making it 2-2 before Kian Spence and Billy Waters gave Town a two-goal cushion, only for Acquah to score again before half-time.
Waters and Jordan Slew put Halifax 6-3 ahead, Kelly got another one back and then Elliot Newby came off the bench to add a seventh.
Who'd have thought Notts County would only be the second most remarkable game of the season?
The madness began when a lovely flick by Waters found Jack Vale, before Warburton's shot was deflected for a corner, from which Warren headed Town in-front with his first goal for the club.
But just two minutes later, a cross-shot from Sam Barratt spilled by Sam Johnson, and the rebound was turned in by Kelly from two yards.
But The Shaymen restored their lead a few minutes later when some fantastic build-up involving Jack Senior and Billy Waters set-up Warburton to blast a superb shot into the far corner across goal.
However, again just two minutes after Town had scored, Maidenhead cancelled it out, this time through Acquah, who latched onto a long ball upfield, and wormed his way into the box before a fine finish from 15 yards.
All the rules about composure and solidity seemed to have been discarded amid the chaos. It was like a free-for-all, errors everywhere, the ball bouncing around like a balloon.
Maidenhead were working hard to try and pick Halifax off, nick the ball and attack from there, while The Shaymen looked to have the greater guile and fluidity about them.
After a comparative goal drought of 18 minutes, Spence fired Town back into the lead with a low shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Going forward, Town were just too good for their opponents, playing some lovely stuff, popping off one-twos, give-and-go's. Maidenhead's defence looked like it needed a lie down.
The you-score-we-score pattern was broken when Slew, who got the nod to replace Jamie Allen, unselfishly played the ball left to Waters when he could have shot himself, and Town's top-scorer finished coolly past James Holden from an angle.
But even then, there was still time for one more goal to be squeezed into the most ridiculous, entertaining, can't-take-your-eyes-of-it half of football you'll see all season.
From a Maidenhead free-kick, Kieran Green inexplicably headed the ball backwards into the path of Acquah, who nodded in at the far post, as The Shaymen conceded three at home for the first time since losing 4-0 at home to Wrexham on April 13.
Still keeping up?
Yes there were mistakes, yes some of the defending had been poor and yes possibly all three of Maidenhead's goals were avoidable.
But Halifax had been outstanding going forward, playing some of the best football seen at The Shay for years.
Trade that for a boring 0-0? No thanks.
Surely the second-half couldn't be as crazy as the.....
The madness continued.
Waters converted a cross from the right to notch Town's fifth ten minutes after the restart before Halifax scored a brilliant sixth when Jack Senior's back heel played in Waters down the left of the box, and his cut back was rifled home by Slew across goal.
Maidenhead's defence was being ripped apart time and again. The visitors finally looked down and out.
But then Town yet again gifted them a way back into it when the ball was lost by Warburton inside his own half and turned in, low across goal, by Kelly.
Pete Wild was literally hopping mad on the touchline when sloppy play by Green launched a Maidenhead attack.
The Town boss is no stranger to FA Cup drama, but nothing like this.
One of his substitutes Newby then netted his side's seventh with a good finish low into the corner from inside the box.
Green nearly made it eight with a long-range piledriver that was tipped behind, before Tom Bradbury should have found the net with a back post header in the 90th minute.
Other than all that, nothing much happened.
Halifax: Johnson, Warren (Swaby-Neavin 80), Maher, Bradbury, Senior, Green, Spence, Slew, Warburton (Summerfield 67), Vale (Newby 71), Waters. Subs not used: Scott, Debrah.
Scorers: Warren (11), Warburton (17), Spence (37), Waters (42, 58), Slew (55), Newby (72)
Shots on target: 10
Shots off target: 6
Maidenhead: Holden, Mingi, Massey, Parry, Beckwith, Adams (Burley 46), Ferdinand, Barratt (Sparkes 63), Upward (Asonganyi 74), Acquah (Smith 74), Kelly (Blissett 67). Subs not used: Lovett, Wells, Smile, Sparkes.
Scorers: Kelly (13, 60), Acquah (19, 43)
Shots on target: 6
Shots off target: 4
Referee: Jacob Miles
Town man of the match: Billy Waters caused absolute havoc for the Maidenhead defence with his constant running, terrific movement and link-up play.