Monday 23 July 2012 // Pre-Season Friendly // Report by Sam Bunn
A delightful late equaliser from Josh James saw a youthful Maidstone United side draw 3-3 with Erith Town.
Rees Longville-Daly and Tom Cackett grabbed the other goals for the Stones at the Erith Recreation Ground against The Dockers’ first team.
Despite some early Stones possession, the home side quickly took the initiative and James had to be on hand to clear a header from the line early on.
Tyrus Gordon, whose pace was a constant threat to the Maidstone defence, twice went close before Jamie Humphris gave his side the lead with a magnificent strike into the top corner from 25 yards.
Gordon then brought good blocks out of goalkeeper Brandon Hall and Rhys Fox, but Fox could do nothing when he ghosted past him before rolling home to grab his side a deserved second.
As the half wore on it looked as though Maidstone at times were going to be completely overrun by their opponents, however they stuck to their principles and got a hold of the game, playing out from the back and funnelling play through the talented midfield trio of James, Ryan Croucher and Tom Cackett.
It was a ball from Croucher which found Brett Fairman on the right wing, and his cross eventually fell to Longville-Daly who reduced the defecit with 46 minutes on the clock.
And then five minutes into injury time the Stones managed to find themselves level when a Ryan Palmer corner was converted by Cackett, possibly the smallest player on the pitch.
The second half was played at a slower pace, possibly due the heat but perhaps more down to the withdrawal of the mercurial Gordon.
Despite this the Stones saw all their stoppage time hard work undone early in the second half when the Dockers converted from a corner.
Humphris then saw his penalty magnificently saved by substitute ‘keeper Peter Gill, diving high to his right to tip the ball round the post.
Lewis Mingle, back at the club after spending last season on dual registration at Tunbridge Wells, should have punished Humphris for his miss soon after but somehow conspired to hit the goalkeeper when completely unmarked six yards out.
Then with the game drawing towards it’s conclusion, James found himself able to drive forward unchallenged and he curled a marvelous shot into the bottom right-hand corner to give his side a more than respectable draw.
Maidstone United: Rees Longville-Daly 45+1, Tom Cackett 45+5, Josh James 87
Maidstone United (4-2-3-1): Brandon Hall (Peter Gill), Brett Fairman (Lewis Mingle), Rhys Fox, Tom Eyres, Conor Bruniges (Tomi Alade); Josh James, Ryan Croucher; Veejay Miller (Brett Ince), Tom Cackett (Mitch Mannell), Ryan Palmer; Rees Longville-Daly (Jordan Hill)