Thursday 2 August 2012 // Pre-Season Friendly // Report by Ruth Tunnell
It has been a busy week for Maidstone United. After games against Chatham Town and Ebbsfleet United, The Stones travelled to Rochester United for their third fixture inside just six days but a late strike from Stuart Zanone ensured that Maidstone were held to another draw.
This match provided an ideal opportunity for Jay Saunders to enjoy ninety minutes and he was also able to give valuable game time to a number of first team players including Danny Lye, Steve Ward and Ade Olorunda.
The game also saw a return to the starting line up for Baff Addae who has returned to try and fight for a place in the squad after a brief spell with Dulwich Hamlet and it was Addae who got the first goal of the evening when he converted a penalty on seven minutes after Ade Olorunda was pulled back inside the box.
After dominating the opening minutes, The Stones then allowed Rochester back into the game and with 22 minutes played, Tim Beckford equalised for the home side. However, just before half time, Maidstone restored their lead when Saunders clipped a good through ball into Ade Olorunda who ran into the area and thumped the ball in off the right hand post.
The second half was once again inevitably disrupted by a number of substitutions but Ryan Croucher saw a couple of efforts saved and Scott Chalmers-Stevens also made some good saves in the Maidstone goal.
Unfortunately for The Stones though, Chalmers-Stevens could do nothing to prevent Rochester from equalising in the 90th minute as Zanone, who was the home side’s leading scorer last season, raced into the area and rounded the Maidstone keeper before slipping the ball into an unguarded net.
For Saunders though, the result wasn’t the most important aspect of the evening as he said afterwards: “It was ideal for what we needed which was giving people minutes and so it served its purpose. I know now that if I need to call up reserve players that there are ones who are probably ready. I think that Jim (Bodle) will tell you that the standard has gone up slightly which is a good thing for me. Obviously at the moment we have got a big squad but as we saw last season, injuries do happen and also, if the reserve players are doing well then they know they will get called up and asked to train with us and they might get to be involved.”
Rochester United: Tim Beckford 22, Stuart Zanone 90
Maidstone United: Baff Addae 7 (pen), Ade Olorunda 45
Maidstone United: Scott Chambers-Stevens, Ryan Cooper (Povilas Sarlinas 45), Lewis Mingle (Charlie Smith 66), Barney Abbott (Tom Eyres 78), Steve Ward, Danny Lye (Jordan Hill 73), Baff Addae (Josh James 73), Jay Saunders, Ade Olorunda (Ryan Croucher 45), Alfie Pavey (Joe Reeves 66), Kaiyne Woolery. Sub not used: Rhys Fox.