Maidstone United progressed to the fifth round of the Isuzu FA Trophy with a 6-5 penalty victory at Meadow Lane.
We looked favourites to win the tie after second-half goals from Adam Chicksen and Sam Austin hauled us back from 2-0 down.
But we couldn't make our momentum count in normal time and paid the penalty when Matt Palmer's effort was saved during sudden death.
Luke Williams took the opportunity to change his system for this match, deploying a back four consisting of, from left to right, Kyle Cameron, Aden Baldwin, Connell Rawlinson and Geraldo Bajrami.
New loan signing Archie Mair was given his debut in goal, while Ed Francis was handed a holding midfield role behind Palmer and Austin.
Chicksen and Aaron Nemane were played as out-and-out wingers, with Kairo Mitchell their target at centre forward.
Under 19s players Ashaiah Fearon, Madou Cisse and Charlie Gill were named on the bench alongside Sam Slocombe, Jim O’Brien and Macaulay Langstaff.
The visitors fired an early warning shot as, inside the first minute, Sam Bone’s low cross flashed across goal with no telling touch in the middle.
We soon gained control of possession but were struggling to penetrate the Stones’ defence in the opening exchanges, with Jack Barham flashing a shot over the bar on the counter-attack on 17 minutes.
Our first meaningful shot of the game came on 28 minutes when Chicksen’s right-footed effort deflected up off a defender and just evaded Mitchell in the middle.
A minute later, Austin’s cross was volleyed into the side-netting by Aaron Nemane, shortly before the same man picked out Mitchell with another delivery from the left – only for the forward to head the ball off-target.
We looked well in control at this point but were breathing a sigh of relief when Corne missed a big chance out of nowhere, skewing the ball well wide with a first-time finish.
And, moments later, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Baldwin took a heavy touch in the area, leaving Mair with no choice but to dive in at the striker’s feet. The referee pointed to the spot and booked Mair, who couldn’t quite keep Regan Booty’s perfectly-placed penalty out.
There were huge blocks to deny Cameron and Nemane in quick succession as the Stones fought to preserve their lead going into the break.
And, shortly after Palmer had glanced Bajrami’s cross wide of the near post, the referee called time on the opening 45.
We soon resumed our pursuit of an equaliser and created a promising moment down the right, releasing Nemane who saw Austin send his slightly overhit cross wide with an acrobatic effort.
Five minutes later, however, our task was made even harder when Mair came well out of his area and misplaced a pass which allowed Deacon to glide the ball into the empty net from 45 yards.
We needed a quick response and got one when Palmer did brilliantly to hold off a defender before seeing his shot blocked, with the ball spinning out to Chicksen. The makeshift winger produced the perfect first-time finish low across the keeper to get us back into the game.
That proved to be Chicksen’s final action as he soon made way for Under 19s midfielder Gill, who joined Cisse in making his debut after Nemane had been substituted for him earlier in the half.
And our continued pursuit of an equaliser eventually paid off when Palmer’s curling cross was turned home by Austin at the second attempt after his initial header was well saved.
Mitchell sent a stooping header off-target and Austin dragged a shot wide of the near post as we desperately sought a winner - but it wasn’t to come and the match went straight to penalties.
Both sides scored all five of their opening efforts, with Baldwin, Rawlinson, Mitchell, Austin and Francis hitting the target.
The Stones then scored their sixth, putting the pressure on Palmer to convert, but his penalty was saved and the visitors progressed to the fifth round.
STARTING XI: Mair; Cameron, Rawlinson, Baldwin, Bajrami; Francis, Chicksen (Gill 65'), Austin, Palmer, Nemane (Cisse 59'); Mitchell
UNUSED SUBS: Slocombe, Fearon [U19], O'Brien, Langstaff
BOOKINGS: Mair 39', Baldwin 80', Cameron 88'
ATTENDANCE: 2,405 (215)