Tuesday 19 August // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 1473 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United maintained their perfect start to the new season as they condemned Hampton and Richmond Borough to their fourth defeat in a row.
With Steve Watt still suffering from a tight groin, Jay Saunders changed his starting lineup for the first time during the new campaign and brought Jamie Coyle in at centre half. Despite this change though, the Stones still looked solid at the back.
This game could have taken a different path had Hampton and Richmond Borough established an early lead which they nearly did in the opening minutes. Billy Adcock picked up possession just outside the area and from nothing, fashioned a shot which left Lee Worgan helpless as it smashed off the crossbar.
This seemed to wake the Stones up and on seven minutes, a one two between Stephen Butcher and Jay May saw Maidstone make good progress down the right. Butcher then drove the ball across the area and the on-rushing Alex Flisher hit a rising effort over the bar.
The Stones kept pressing though and 60 seconds later, they went in front. This time Matt Bodkin brought the ball down to Alex Brown who kept his cool to pick out Frannie Collin who then calmly slotted in his third goal of the season.
Not long afterwards, Flisher dispossessed Ben Osman who was on the edge of his own box. However, after getting into a good position, Flisher could only find the side netting with a typical fierce effort.
There was then little to note until Ben Harris drew a diving save from Worgan with a free-kick from 30 yards after Collin was penalised and seconds later, Maidstone swiftly moved upfield. May started the push forwards which resulted in Flisher’s effort being blocked and as Hampton couldn’t fully clear their lines, Bodkin had the chance to shoot but he dragged the ball wide of the left hand post.
May was then involved again as he tried to pick out Collin with a lifted cross only for Billy Jeffrey to be alert to the danger and he conceded a corner. This was taken by Bodkin out on the Maidstone right and he found Jack Parkinson who saw his header fly just over the bar.
Then just before the break, the Stones went even closer. Osman brought Brown down right on the left hand corner of the box and Collin drove the free-kick in towards the six yard box. Sonny Miles appeared to get a touch but as May tried to make sure the ball entered the net, he accidently cleared it away from line.
There was still time at the end of the first half for Hampton to threaten. A ball over the top down the Beavers right picked out Luke Wanadio and as Worgan had come off his line, Wanadio attempted a lob from out close to the touchline which went into the side netting.
Butcher then went on a flying run down the right not long after the restart. After surging past two Hampton players, the Maidstone full back delivered a pacy cross which caught May in two minds and in the end, the ball struck the striker’s standing leg and was comfortably gathered by Tyler Tobin in the Beavers goal.
The visitors then enjoyed a decent spell of possession but rarely tested Worgan during this time. The closest they came was on 63 minutes when Butcher conceded a free-kick which was initially blocked and when the ball came back to Harris just outside the box, his snap shot was inches off target.
Having been a bit subdued, the Stones suddenly upped the tempo and Flisher put in substitute Ben Greenhalgh. Tobin came off his line quickly and did well to beat away Greenhalgh’s resultant shot.
Shortly afterwards, Flisher pressurised the Hampton defence once again. This time, Jeffreys had to get across quickly to concede a corner after the Maidstone winger tried to close him down inside the box. It was Flisher who went out to the left to take the corner and his deep cross was met by Jack Parkinson who headed the ball into the net.
As the game entered its final stages, Worgan was called into action. A long ball forwards caught Butcher out and let Wanadio in down the left. He belted a hard shot towards goal only for Worgan to do well and save with his legs.
The play then swung to the other end and the Stones were unfortunate not to add some gloss to the scoreline six minutes from time. Flisher sent over a cross from the left and Collin twisted his body as he dived to head the ball but his effort went agonisingly wide of the post.
Maidstone United: Frannie Collin 8, Jack Parkinson 65
Hampton & Richmond Borough: –
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Stephen Butcher, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, Alex Brown (James Rogers 72), Matt Bodkin, Jack Parkinson (Michael Phillips 80), Jay May (Ben Greenhalgh 59), Frannie Collin, Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Charley Robertson, Will Godmon.
Hampton & Richmond Borough: Tyler Tobin, Ben Osman, George Wells, Tommy Brewer, Billy Jeffreys, Matt Steer, Luke Wanadio, Karle Carder, Ben Harris (Gareth Chendlik 74), Billy Adcock (Jesse Kewley-Graham 72), Jerome Federico (Charlie Moone 78). Subs not used: Hassan Ibrahim, Michael Bryan.