Wednesday 5th October 2011 // Ryman Premier League // Attendance: 323 // Report by Ruth Tunnell.
The Stones made it seven league wins in a row as an own goal from former Maidstone player Laurence Harvey and a late strike from substitute James Pinnock took The Stones up to second in the table.
This was a scrappy game that was not helped by a strong swirling wind and the first half was particularly dull. With four minutes played Sam Bewick laid the ball back to Tom Mills who whipped in a decent cross which dropped to Baff Addae who did well to make room for a shot that curled just wide of the left hand post.
It wasn’t until twenty minutes later that there was another attempt on goal when a free-kick from Jimmy Humphris was met by Shaun Welford and he saw his header fly just off target.
With half an hour gone, Hythe had their first chance when the Maidstone defence stood off allowing Dave Cook to curl an effort wide of the right and post and the visitors went closer still on 36 minutes when Lee Winfield’s free-kick picked out Brendon Cass whose header grazed the post.
There was then nothing to note again until the 51st minute when once more The Stones let Cook roam forwards unopposed and the Hythe player’s fierce effort thumped just wide. However, the deadlock was finally broken on 66 minutes. A free-kick into the box from Humphris was headed on by Welford and Harvey took no chances and nodded the ball behind for a corner. Then from the resultant cross, the unfortunate Harvey turned the ball into his own net.
The goal finally injected some spark into the game and on 75 minutes Maidstone should have doubled their lead when the ball dropped to Alex Flisher in space who drove the ball across the face of goal where it was picked up by Addae. Addae laid the ball back into the path of Humphris and the midfielder’s strong drive was expertly tipped over the bar by Paul Egan in the Hythe goal.
Addae was instrumental in another move three minutes later when his pace took him into space down the right hand side and he crossed for Welford whose header smacked the post and then Pat Kingwell did well to block Bewick’s follow-up effort.
Five minutes from the end, Hythe came close to equalising when a shot from John Walker close to the touchline and about 35 yards from goal threatened to dip underneath the cross bar but Charlie Mitten was alert to the danger and pushed the ball over. Ronnie Dolan took the corner and he picked out Cook who saw his header hit the left hand post and go behind for a goal kick.
Having survived this scare, Maidstone made sure of the win with two minutes remaining. Mitten did well to come out of his goal and make a strong clearance under pressure which, with most of the Hythe players pushed on, drew Egan from his area. Addae charged down Egan’s kick and he ran down the right hand side before attempting a low ball into the box. His initial cross was cut out by Walker but the ball came straight back to Addae and this time he played the ball to Pinnock who leathered a delightful finish into the net.
Maidstone United: Laurence Harvey 66 (O.G.), James Pinnock 88.
Hythe Town: -
Maidstone United: Charlie Mitten, Tommy Osborne, Tom Mills, Nick Reeves, Graeme Andrews, Jimmy Humphris (Jay Saunders 76), Ellis Green (James Pinnock 41), Sam Bewick, Shaun Welford, Baff Addae, Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Alex Waugh, Karl Knight, Danny Lye.
Hythe Town: Paul Egan, Aaron Lacy, John Walker, Pat Kingwell, Laurence Harvey, Ronnie Dolan, Dave Cook, Nick Barnes, Craig Thompson, Brendon Cass, Lee Winfield (James Dryden 79). Subs not used: Lloyd Blackman, Taser Hassan, Ashley Porter, Greg Smith.