Shaymen edge past Maidenhead on penalties to reach FA Trophy quarter-finals

York Road.  (Photo by Martin Willetts/Getty Images)York Road.  (Photo by Martin Willetts/Getty Images)
York Road. (Photo by Martin Willetts/Getty Images)
Jordan Slew came off the bench to send FC Halifax Town through to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy on penalties against Maidenhead.

Slew scored for Halifax at York Road earlier in the season in the league and kept his nerve to edge Halifax into the last eight.

On this evidence, both teams needed to progress in the Trophy to rescue their flagging campaigns.

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It was an unrefined, stodgy, scrappy cup tie played between two teams struggling for form.

But Town fought hard, gave it their all and scraped through another round closer to Wembley on penalties.

It was a game of percentage football, aerial battles and a lot of long balls.

Harvey Gilmour has flourished in central midfield in recent weeks but was in danger of doing more defending than attacking at times at left wing-back.

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When Town didn't go long, Gilmour was usually involved in their build-up play, with Halifax trying to work the ball to Milli Alli in advanced areas.

The link-up between Gilmour and Alli down the left offered moments of promise, but Alli and Max Wright weren't really seeing enough of the ball.

They needed more from Jordan Keane and Jack Hunter in midfield, but too many of Halifax's forward passes were hit in hope rather than expectation, unsure of where they'd end up, with The Shaymen missing Gilmour's vision and deftness of touch in the middle of the park.

Tylor Golden fired over early on for Town after a flowing move not really in-keeping with the contest, while there were wayward shots by Remi Clerima and Keane.

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Halifax were sound enough at the back, but had to be more than Maidenhead on the balance of play.

There wasn't much between the sides but Town's defence was stretched a bit more often.

Clerima headed at Sam Johnson, ex-Halifax loanee Shawn McCoulsky was off target from a corner.

There was a crucial block by Tom Clarke, who acquitted himself very well on his first start for three months in place of Jesse Debrah, with Hunter also starting instead of the ineligible Adam Senior, before Jamie Stott's hurried clearance.

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Maidenhead, who came into the game deprived of their first-choice keeper and their top goalscorer through injury, began to win more loose balls as the opening half went on, gaining more territory but not doing enough to breach Halifax's back line.

A fairly dour game almost exploded into life when Alli, cutting in from the left on his right, drove a thunderbolt just past the post ten minutes before the break.

He had looked the most likely source of inspiration for the visitors, but he, and especially Wright, hadn't been involved enough.

Mani Dieseruvwe had worked hard but under difficult circumstances, dealing with a lot of direct balls against a well-drilled defence.

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Wright twice tested Alexis Andre shortly after half-time with shots of varying ferocity, while there was another good block by Clarke from McCoulsky's shot on the turn.

There remained little style or sophistication about the game and little between the teams.

Ashley Nathaniel-George tested Sam Johnson with a good strike on goal around the hour mark, before Senior produced a vital block from Reece Smith's goalbound shot.

Sam Barrett then sent a vicious shot crashing just over from 20 yards.

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That immediately preceded a Town reshuffle, with Debrah on for the ineffective Keane, pushing Senior to left wing-back and Gilmour to central midfield; apart from those two shots from Wright, Halifax had offered nothing since the break.

Gilmour's shift in-field nearly paid dividends when he was picked out by Golden, but after shimmying past an opponent, he lifted his shot over the bar.

Both teams' efforts to break the deadlock got worse towards full-time, with penalties seeming to be the obvious destination for the game long before the end.

And after Dieseruvwe, Rob Harker, Stott and Alli had all scored, Slew netted the winner to seal it 5-4 on penalties.

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Maidenhead: Andre, Odutayo, Massey, De Havilland, Smith, Clerima, Nathanial-George, Ferdinand, Adams (Asare 46), Barratt, McCoulsky. Subs not used: Beckwith, Sparkes, Esan, Arthur, Vaughan, Clifton.

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 11

Corners: 3

Halifax: Johnson, Clarke, Stott, Hunter, Golden, Keane (Debrah 66), Gilmour, Senior (Slew 90), Wright (Harker 78), Dieseruvwe, Alli. Subs not used: Minihan, Capello, Arthur, O'Rourke

Shots on target: 2

Shots off target: 8

Corners: 2

Referee: Sam Mulhall

Town man of the match: Harvey Gilmour, gave it absolutely everything, showed a lot of quality and composure on the ball in a game where not many others did.

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