Saturday 15 September 2012 // FA Carlsberg Trophy Preliminary Round // Attendance: 290 // Report by Sam Bunn
Maidstone United came home from Suffolk with a place in the FA Trophy First Round after winning a thrilling encounter at Needham Market.
Paul Booth notched his first hat trick for the Stones, however this game will be remembered for startling ten minute period (sandwiched by half time) that saw six goals scored.
The game began in a fairly tepid fashion, with neither goalkeeper being tested, and it took twenty minutes for the game to truly spark into life when Tim Olorunda half-cleared to Bradley Barber, whose rasping shot cleared Deren Ibrahim’s bar.
From the resulting goal kick the Stones got the first goal of the afternoon, with Booth scoring one of the most bizarre goals in recent times at Maidstone United. Shaun Welford flicked on, and Booth looked to control with his heel on the run; however his touch was so strong that it looped over his head and indeed that of goalkeeper Alex Archer, and the ball nestled into the back of the net.
The home side came back strongly with Nathan Clarke missing the target, and Sam Newson, a scorer of sixty one goals in 100 appearances for Needham, was put through by James Hubbard, but he could only blaze over when one-on-one with Ibrahim.
United then nearly doubled their lead with half an hour played; Booth picked up a Stones clearance and drove forward before slipping in Alex Flisher, however the left winger’s shot was deflected onto the post by Archer.
Archer then saved well from Booth’s bending strike, and Evans headed wide after Barber hung up Clarke’s flick-on at the back post before Maidstone then doubled their lead with 43 minutes on the clock. The Stones won a throw deep inside Needham’s half, and Flisher slung the ball into the box for Olorunda to bundle home unopposed at the back post.
However as the Stones looked to be going into the break with a two-goal advantage, Sam Newson popped up at the other end to half the deficit, curling delightfully past Ibrahim from 20 yards.
Not to be outdone, Maidstone went straight up the other end and regained their two-goal lead. Ben Davisson shimmied and shuffled in the box before eventually being felled by James Hubbard, and Booth stepped up and dispatched the penalty with typical aplomb.
The two sides came out for the second half and continued in the same fashion that ended the first, although it was Maidstone who drew first blood and looked, for a couple of minutes at least, to have put the game beyond doubt when Booth grabbed his hat trick, scoring an almost identical goal to that scored by Newson before half time.
Four goals down, two to go in this barmy ten minute spell, and the last two goals were to go to Needham as they looked to stage an audacious comeback.
Duane Wright headed past Ibrahim to make it 2-4 just a minute after Booth’s strike, and soon after Market made it three as Maidstone imploded down the right-hand side of defence, leaving Newson to finish Barber’s cross from close range.
With 53 minutes on the clock Newson must have thought he had got his hat trick and an equaliser for his team; Maidstone once again regressed to the sort of defending that plagued their early-season games, and Ibrahim somehow kept out the Newson’s strike with a magnificent save low to his right.
Ibrahim had kept the Stones in the lead, but the home side continued to look the more likely to get the eighth goal of the game, finding vast pockets of space in midfield on which to launch attacks.
Saunders acknowledged the problem however, and effectively plugged the gaps and stopped Market playing with the introduction of the domineering Danny Lye in the place of Les Thompson.
Lye’s influence could not be underestimated and the home side’s attacks all but dried up, and it took until the last couple of minutes for the Suffolk side to throw the proverbial kitchin sink at the Stones, but Ibrahim and his defenders held firm to book a mouth-watering place away to Margate in the next round.
Needham Market: Sam Newson 45, 51 Nathan Clarke 49
Maidstone United: Paul Booth 25, 45 (pen), 47 Tim Olorunda 43
Needham Market (4-4-2): Alex Archer, Pip Boyland, Kieron Leabon (Ollie Fenn 90), James Hubbard, Duane Wright, Jemel Fox (Danny Bloomfield 80), James Evans, Aaron Condon (Jack Wilkinson 68), Sam Newson, Nathan Clarke, Bradley Barber
Maidstone United (4-4-2): Deren Ibrahim; Tommy Osborne, Graeme Andrews (Ryan Cooper 25), Nicky Humphrey, Tom Mills; Les Thompson (Danny Lye 73), Ben Davisson, Tim Olorunda, Alex Flisher; Shaun Welford, Paul Booth (Michael Phillips 86) Subs not used: Charlie Mitten, Kaiyne Woolery