Tuesday 24 July 2012 // Pre-Season Friendly // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Last season, Maidstone United came away from Gay Dawn Farm with a 9-0 win in the FA Cup. This time, The Stones returned to Corinthian for a pre-season friendly against the Kent League side and although at one point Maidstone threatened another rout as they scored four goals inside 53 minutes, the home side didn’t cave in and grabbed two fine goals to give the scoreline some respectability.
“For the majority of the game we were comfortable and played some good stuff,” said Jay Saunders afterwards. “I was a bit disappointed to let in two goals but I would rather the mistakes happened now than in league games.”
With a number of players unavailable due to holiday or injury, Saunders once again took the opportunity to look at different options and this time he paired Tom Mills with assistant manager Steve Ward in the centre of defence. And for the majority of the first half, Maidstone’s defence were relatively quiet although from time to time Rob Denness threatened and Charlie Mitten was occasionally called into action to make a save.
The Stones were the stronger of the two sides early on and Michael Phillips saw a header strike the bar before Maidstone took the lead on 23 minutes. Mills played a long ball forwards to Alex Flisher who ran down the left and crossed into the middle but the Corinthian goalkeeper, Louis Craddock, made an hash of an attempted punch and Ben Davisson pouched to steer the ball inside the left hand post.
Within two minutes The Stones had doubled their lead when once again a mistake from Craddock proved pivotal as this time he failed to gather the ball on the edge of the box allowing Sam Bewick to gain possession and curl the ball into an unguarded net.
Shaun Welford then attempted to recreate Danny Welbeck’s goal in Euro 2012 with a cheeky backheel only for the ball to strike the post but Welford soon added a third with 37 minutes on the clock when he placed a perfect header from Bewick’s cross past Craddock.
The Stones dominated the initial stages of the second half and they scored again with 53 minutes played when another fine cross from Bewick picked out Paul Booth who had the task of knocking in his first goal for Maidstone from close range.
“I was confident that if we got Paul Booth the right service he would score goals,” said Saunders. “It was a great ball in from Sam Bewick and Booth did well to slot it in. Sam has been coming in early to training and working hard on his delivery into the box which has been pleasing and if both Sam and Alex (Flisher) can add that final ball into their game then they will do well for us.”
Once Maidstone had scored the fourth goal, Corinthian started to come into the game more though and on 62 minutes they pulled a goal back with an excellent strike from ex-Chatham Town forward Denness. Then with thirteen minutes remaining the home side rounded off the scoring for the evening when this time former Stones player Adam Marsh held off Ward and lobbed substitute Deren Ibrahim in the Maidstone goal.
Maidstone United: Ben Davisson 23, Sam Bewick 25, Shaun Welford 37, Paul Booth 53
Corinthian: Rob Denness 62, Adam Marsh 77
Maidstone United: Charlie Mitten (Deren Ibrahim 51), Ryan Cooper (Conor Bruniges 83), Tommy Osborne, Tom Mills (Gavin Greenfield 72), Steve Ward, Michael Phillips (Josh James 63), Ben Davisson, Sam Bewick (Ryan Palmer 68), Shaun Welford, Paul Booth (Ryan Croucher 78), Alex Flisher (Jay Saunders 86). Subs not used: Nicky Humphrey, Joe Reeves.