Wednesday 8 August 2012 // Pre-Season Friendly // Attendance: 1467 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
For the first time in five matches, Maidstone United have registered a victory, as goals from Paul Booth and Nicky Humphrey were enough to see off a largely youthful Leyton Orient side.
The game was played in front of 1467 spectators which was The Stones’ second largest attendance at the Gallagher Stadium and the large crowd means that 8600 spectators have flocked through the turnstiles to watch Maidstone’s pre-season games.
With Shaun Welford unavailable, Jay Saunders deployed Paul Booth in the lone striker role with Alex Flisher and Kaiyne Woolery as the two wide players and The Stones got off to the ideal start as with just three minutes on the clock they opened the scoring. Michael Phillips took a quick free-kick to Tommy Osborne down the right and Osborne’s pin point cross picked out Booth who headed the ball down into the ground and it bounced up into the net.
Unfortunately for Maidstone though their lead was not to last long as they gifted the visitors an equaliser on 14 minutes. Humphrey’s attempted back pass went wrong as he accidentally hit the ball past Deren Ibrahim. Both Humphrey and Ibrahim ran back towards the goal to try and save the situation but Afe Obafemi won the race for the ball and he stroked it into the unguarded net.
Shortly afterwards, Ibrahim kept the scores level when Harrison Georgiou slipped the ball into Obafemi and the Maidstone goalkeeper made a good block with his legs and then at the other end, Osborne’s cross from the right found Booth who saw his acrobatic effort deflect behind for a corner.
Apart from the goals, there had been little to excite the crowd up until this point but they were given something to cheer about with 33 minutes played when The Stones scored an excellent goal. Ben Davisson started the move off after his persistence saw him win and keep the ball 25 yards from goal. Davisson then found Flisher in space down the right hand side and he whipped in a good cross which was met by the arriving Humphrey who atoned for his earlier error with a thumping header that flew past Jon Miles in the Orient goal.
Two minutes before the break, Leyton Orient should have equalised when Graeme Andrews couldn’t prevent Elyon Egbeku from getting in down the right hand side and he managed side step Ibrahim but with the goal at his mercy he drove the ball against the cross bar.
Not long after the break there was then an action packed fifteen minute spell which was started off by Flisher who picked out Booth with a delightful curling pass and the Maidstone striker advanced into the box but his resultant shot was blocked by the legs of Miles.
It was then the visitors turn to threaten when Obafemi played the ball to Leon McSweeney down the right and he sent over a deep cross which was met by Harrison Georgiou who headed wide at the back post.
Shortly afterwards, Leyton Orient had another good chance when Obafemi played in Egbeku who knocked the ball past Ibrahim but a heavy touch forced him away from goal and when the resultant shot came in, Tommy Osborne twice made important blocks to get the ball away from the goal.
Then with an hour played the referee, Mr Blunden, decided that Michael Phillips had fouled Billy Lobjoit inside the area and so awarded a penalty. Obafemi stepped up to take the resultant spot-kick and after some prancing around, Obafemi eventually scuffed his penalty wide of the left hand.
The O’s continued to press and Maidstone afforded Moses Odubajo too much space inside the area on 63 minutes but Ibrahim came to The Stones’ rescue and denied Odubajo with a good diving save before Leyton Orient pulled the home side defence open only for Marc Laird to see his shot blocked on the line by Graeme Andrews.
Kaiyne Woolery then saw a curling effort clear the bar for Maidstone and the game quietened down for a short period until Leyton Orient started trying to force a late equaliser. With six minutes remaining, Odubajo tricked his way into space inside the area only to shoot wide of the left hand post before the visitors enjoyed a number of corners. It was from two of these that Laird went close to scoring but he saw his shot on 85 minutes deflect behind and then moments later, his header from Lobjoit’s cross flashed across goal.
Maidstone United: Paul Booth 3, Nicky Humphrey 33
Leyton Orient: Afe Obafemi 14
Maidstone United: Deren Ibrahim (Scott Chalmer-Stevens 73), Tommy Osborne, Tom Mills (Lewis Mingle 66), Nicky Humphrey, Graeme Andrews, Tim Olorunda (Ade Olorunda 56), Michael Phillips (Danny Lye 81), Ben Davisson, Kaiyne Woolery, Paul Booth (Tamer Tuna 78), Alex Flisher (Baff Addae 56) Subs not used: Ryan Cooper, Sam Bewick, Steve Ward.
Leyton Orient: Jon Miles, Leon McSweeney, Joe Foley, Marc Laird, Johnny Ertl, Sean Grace, Harrison Georgiou (Kevin Kwartang 67), Moses Odubajo, Afe Obafemi (George Wickings 78), Billy Lobjoit, Elyon Egbeku (Rob Nash 67).