Wrexham booked their place in the next round of the FA Cup with a spirited 3-1 win against ten-man Maidstone at the Racecourse on Saturday evening.
From early on, the chances came thick and fast, and Mark Carrington was unlucky not to find the back of the net, his shot stopped at point blank range by the advancing keeper Lee Worgan after eight minutes. The resulting rebound saw Connor Jennings’ header fall agonisingly wide of the post.
Maidstone showed they were intent on making their own impression on the game, and a certain goal from Alex Flisher was only denied by the hand of a diving Jon Flatt, followed immediately by the Dragons’ keeper gathering in a shot from midfielder James Rogers.
However, the pressure of two successive Wrexham corners finally told, and when the ball rebounded towards the edge of the penalty box, Manny Smith was on hand to volley the ball onto the underside of the crossbar and into the Maidstone net for his first goal in a Wrexham shirt, on 19 minutes.
Joe Clark and Jay Harris were steadily taking control of the midfield, and the ball was being moved around confidently. Maidstone, for their part were proving difficult to contain on the break, and Flatt was once again called into action on 28 minutes, making a smart save to keep the goal advantage intact.
Just before half time, Ross White was unlucky not to double the lead, when his deft header curled agonisingly around the wrong side of the post.
The Reds got straight back to business after the break, and when Harris put Andy Bishop through against the keeper, his chip somehow drifted wide of the goal.
Moments later, the course of the game could have changed when the Stones almost got level, Jack Parkinson’s header being tipped onto the woodwork by the ever alert Flatt.
Maidstone’s frustration intensified on 57 minutes, when Defender Aaron Simpson was given his marching orders for bringing down Wes York in the area. Andy Bishop duly doubled the Dragons’ lead from the spot.
If Wrexham thought that the Stones were crumbling, they were wrong, and the 783 travelling supporters were rewarded six minutes later when Rogers passed to Flisher, who turned and poked the ball past the sprawling Flatt into the net.
The Reds were forced to endure an uncomfortable spell of sustained Maidstone pressure, where to the frustration of the 3,093 strong crowd, they seemed unable to use their man advantage and keep hold of the ball.
Eventually though, our superiority once again came to the fore, and when James Pearson replaced Ross White on 85 minutes, his impact was immediate.
Within a minute, he was racing away down the right, and when his sublime cross was met by the head of the rising Bishop, the ball was directed into the back of the net.
After the game, manager Kevin Wilkin was pleased to see his side progress to Monday’s third round draw.
“Overall the way we moved the ball, our class showed through in the end," he said.
“Great credit to Maidstone, they've had a fantastic run in the competition.
"It’s a big thing to keep progressing in the FA Cup, the players have been a credit to the club today, and hopefully the draw will be kind to us.”
Wrexham: Jon Flatt (g/k), Ross White (James Pearson 85), Manny Smith, Blaine Hudson, Neil Ashton; Mark Carrington, Joe Clarke, Jay Harris (Elliott Durrell 90+2), Wes York (Moult 76), Andy Bishop, Connor Jennings.
Subs: Louis Gray, Johnny Hunt, Steve Tomassen, Nick Rushton.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson, Sonny Miles, Jamie Coyle, Tom Mills, Matt Bodkin (Alex Brown 78), Jack Parkinson, James Rogers, Alex Flisher, Jay May (Richard Davies 60), Frannie Collin (Mark Lovell 76).
Subs: Will Godmon, Bradley Jordan, Ben Greenhalgh, Alfie Kitt.
Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)
Sending Off -
Maidstone: Simpson (56, denying goal)
Wrexham: Smith (41, foul)
Maidstone: Lovell (85, foul)