Hartley Wintney came from a goal down and a man down to defeat Melksham Town 2-1 and edge through to the next stage of the FA Trophy.

Goalkeeper Luke Williams was the hero for Hartley as he produced some excellent saves to keep his team in the game.

But it was Melksham that started well and went ahead on five minutes. A dangerous cross from Will Christopher forced an error from the unfortunate Pascal Kpohomouh who turned the ball into his own net. (0-1).

Hartley responded well and two minutes later an accurate cross from Ryan Case found Sam Argent who saw his well-directed header bring out a good save from Matt Hall in the Black and Yellow’s goal.

On nine minutes, a long throw from Case found the head of Matt Drage who saw his effort hit the top of the crossbar. On the quarter hour, the Row had a lucky escape. Sam Hendy and Jay Malshanskyj beat the Hartley offside trap. Hendy saw his first shot blocked and in the follow up play Albie Hopkins saw his header produce an excellent save from Luke Williams in the Row goal.

On 23 minutes, a neat move from Hartley down the left saw Reece Wylie set up Mitch Parker who saw his deflected shot hit the post and go wide. The Hartley Wintney prospects took a knock on 32 minutes. Jordan Edwards put in a bad challenge on the Melksham’s Matt Hurley. Referee Philip Staynings deemed the tackle bad enough to warrant a straight red card and the Row were down to 10 men.

Melksham went close to adding to their lead when a cross from the left by Albie Hopkins found Sam Hendy who saw his header crash off the underside of the crossbar and Williams did well to keep the ball from crossing the line. Hartley responded and pulled level on 36 minutes. The influential Josh Webb set up Parker for a chance. The strikers shot saw Sam Argent deflect the direction of the ball into the net for the equaliser (1-1)

The Row were finishing the half strongly and on 42 minutes a cross from Parker found Sam Argent who saw his header bring out an excellent save from Hall.

However the pressure bore fruit on the stroke of half time. Kingsley Eshun combined well with Mitch Parker who moved in on goal before firing a shot from the edge of the penalty area into the net. (2-1)

In the second-half, Melksham were soon on the front foot and on 51 minutes had a good chance to level the scores. Aiden Chainey took advantage of some loose play by Hartley and set up Jake Mawford whose shot lacked power and was saved by Williams at full stretch. The visitors were having success using the space on the wings and a move down the right ended with Hopkins shooting just over on 59 minutes.

Five minutes later Hopkins was on the end of a good move and his parting shot went over the bar. On 65 minutes with the visitors pressing constantly a cross from Ryan Morgan found Malshanskyi who headed wide. On 72 minutes Melksham came close again when Chainey gave Christopher a chance which the wing back fired just wide. Three minutes later some slack in the Hartley defence was almost punished and Williams came to the rescue with another good save.

With the game stretched Hartley had chances on the break and Reece Wylie gave Parker an opening and the striker saw his parting shot deflected wide.

A minute later Hopkins, Malshanskyi set up Vaughn Covill who saw his shot saved by Williams and Ralph Graham shot the rebound past the post. Melksham had an opportunity to score on 81 minutes from a free kick on the edge of the Hartley area. Luke Ballinger saw his effort beat the Row wall but crash off the crossbar before being cleared.

Into a nerve jangling five added minutes and Melsham threw virtually the whole team forward including the goalkeeper Hall for two corner kicks. The nearest they came to saving the game was Morgan setting up Ballinger who saw his effort bring out another good save from Williams. The final whistle sounded with Hartley progressing having played an hour with just 10 men against a very useful Melksham Town side.