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REPORT | Maidstone United 2 – 3 Wrexham

Aaron Hayden's stoppage-time goal earns dramatic victory in Kent

21 January 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Maidstone United 2 – 3 Wrexham

Aaron Hayden's stoppage-time goal earns dramatic victory in Kent

21 January 2023

Aaron Hayden’s stoppage-time strike fired Wrexham to victory away to Maidstone, after the hosts’ had initially overcome a two-goal deficit to look like snatching a point.

Luke Young’s lofted left-footed goal gave Wrexham the lead at half-time, and Paul Mullin doubled the advantage from the spot, but Jack Barham’s double pegged the visitors back.

Hayden’s close-range finish in the first minute of stoppage time sealed victory, however, as Wrexham moved level on points with league leaders Notts County.

Sam Dalby replacing birthday boy Ollie Palmer in the starting line-up was Wrexham’s only change from the last league game – our 2-1 home win against Bromley 11 days ago.

After an unspectacular start, Maidstone nearly took the lead with their first real chance on the quarter-hour – Barham racing in over the top and shooting low across goal – but Mark Howard saved and held.

A minute later, Wrexham went closer – Callum McFadzean holding the ball up for Mullin, who crossed low for Dalby, but the ball was somehow deflected wide at the near post.

The chance invigorated the visitors, however, and Young released Anthony Forde on the right on 18 minutes, but the Irishman sliced a fierce shot wide with team-mates in the middle.

For Maidstone, Sha’mar Lawson took advantage of referee Aji Ajibola playing on when Sam Corne was fouled on 20 minutes, but Howard did well to parry his low, bouncing, 20-yard shot away from goal.

As the game opened up, Elliot Lee found Forde in space on the right in the 23rd minute, and this time he caught his shot well, but George Fowler slid in to deflect the goal-bound effort wide.

Two minutes later, McFadzean pulled the ball back for Mullin, who shot first-time on his left-foot, but this time it was Joe Ellul who produced the perfectly-timed block.

Mullin went close again on 29 minutes, when Jordan Tunnicliffe flicked Ben Tozer’s long throw on, but the striker’s headed looped onto the bar.

Just moments later, however, Wrexham were in front. Mullin raced in on the left, and though Mersin saved his low effort, the ball looped out to Young, who delivered a perfect, left-footed lob over the defenders and into the empty net.

Aaron Hayden nearly doubled the advantage on 38 minutes, meeting Tozer’s throw at the near post but heading just wide.

Sam Corne almost levelled in the 42nd minute, skipping through a challenge and into the area, but his right-footed shot flashed just wide across goal.

Mersin then kept the deficit at one goal just a minute before the interval, when Forde darted inside from the right and curled a left-footed shot goalwards, which the keeper tipped wide.

Half-time took the sting out of the game a little, though with a better first touch Dalby would have been in on goal on 51 minutes after Mullin’s pass.

At the other end, Regan Booty managed to drive into the area only for Jordan Tunnicliffe to stop him in his tracks and deflect Lawson’s follow-up over too.

Mullin doubled the lead on 59 minutes, however – picking himself up to rifle a penalty into the bottom corner after being pulled down in the area.

Barham pulled one back for the hosts on 72 minutes, when a shot deflected into his path and he finished low from close-range.

Barham then levelled in the 79th minute, heading across goal – unmarked at the back post – to nod Booty’s cross beyond Howard.

Substitute James Alabi then cut inside on 85 minutes and curled a left-footed shot just wide across goal.

Just as the fourth official was indicating four minutes added on, however, Hayden beat Mersin to O’Connor’s corner to hook the ball in from close range.

Line-ups:

Maidstone: Mersin, Fowler (Alabi 74), Bone, Ellul, Binnom-Williams, Booty, Deacon, Lawson (Pattison 60), Corne, Galvin, Barham

Subs: Barden, Odusanya, Joe

Wrexham: Howard, Hayden, Tozer, Tunnicliffe (J.Jones 86), Forde, Young, O’Connor, McFadzean, Lee, Dalby (Palmer 70), Mullin

Subs: Lainton, McAlinden, Cleworth

Referee: Aji Ajibola

Attendance: 3,341 (486 away)

Bookings: O’Connor (65, foul), Lee (70, foul), Hayden (90+2, ungentlemanly conduct)

Maidstone: Binnom-Williams (26, foul), Lawson (53, ungentlemanly conduct)


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