Published: 16:45, 23 February 2019
| Updated: 16:56, 23 February 2019
Maidstone face their third replay in this season’s FA Trophy after drawing at Stockport in the quarter-finals.
United led through Jake Cassidy but Matthew Warburton levelled for County and it finished 1-1.
Stockport may be a division below Maidstone in National North but they started 4/7 favourites to beat the struggling visitors.
It wasn’t difficult to see why, with confidence sky-high after a run of nine wins in 10 games and seven straight victories at home.
So this goes down as a good result with Maidstone working hard to earn a second bite of the cherry at the Gallagher on Tuesday night.
County tested United at times during the first half, moving the ball well and with right-back Sam Minihan a regular source of attack out wide.
But John Still’s side largely coped well, despite losing captain Will De Havilland to injury inside eight minutes.
That meant an unexpected return for player-coach Simon Walton who this time a week ago couldn’t even move his shoulder.
If he was in pain it didn’t show, having an excellent match.
He did the ugly side of the game well, was always in the right place at the right time, and he also had a hand in Cassidy’s opener.
That came in the 17th minute when he fed the ball into the box after a throw and it broke to Cassidy who showed great footwork to beat two players and find the bottom corner.
County, who earlier hit the bar through Darren Stephenson, equalised in the 29th minute.
Sam Walker was the provider from a corner with the ball dropping to Warburton who turned and finished smartly from just inside the box.
Maidstone finished the half strongly, creating a couple of good chances.
The first saw Cassidy’s header tipped over by Ben Hinchliffe after Walton took a pass from Shaun Donnellan and crossed to the back post.
Soon after, a long run down the right by Michael Phillips took him to the byline and he eventually crossed for Cassidy, whose first-time shot went behind off Jordan Keane.
Phillips had a shot blocked early in the second half, Cassidy starting the move with some good hold-up play out wide before bringing the ball infield.
County’s Frank Mulhern then had a big penalty appeal rejected following a challenge by Dan Wishart on the hour mark and it needed Cassidy to head off the line following a corner.
A big chance fell Maidstone’s way inside the last 20 minutes after a mistake in the home defence let in Phillips but he could only hit the keeper.
But it was County finishing the stronger as pressure mounted and Maidstone had to defend well to keep them out, although Ashley Palmer should have scored when he sent a free header straight at Chris Lewington from a corner.
Maidstone: Lewington, S Donnellan, De Havilland (Walton 8mins), Swaine, Wishart, Davies, Phillips, Powell, Paxman, Cassidy, Romain (L Donnellan 65mins). Subs not used: Meredith, Strizovic, Edobor.
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More by this authorCraig Tucker