Saturday 9 August // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 1566 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
For the first time since 2008, Maidstone United won on the opening day of the season as they came from behind to defeat the Metropolitan Police thanks to goals from Frannie Collin, Jay May and substitute Charley Robertson.
The Stones started brightly enough and with 13 minutes played, Matt Bodkin surged forwards down the right and got past Ricardo Joseph. Bodkin tried to pick out Jay May who was lurking in the box but Ryan James did well to get across to the ball and divert it wide of the left hand post.
Shortly afterwards, a long throw from Alex Flisher was touched on by captain Steve Watt to May who hooked the chance over the bar when well placed. Then with 20 minutes played, the Stones strung together the best move of the half. Bodkin and May were involved once more as they exchanged passes in midfield and May was left gaining possession not far from goal but as he shot, Joseph slid in to make an important block.
As the half wore on though, the Met Police started to get into the game more and on 26 minutes, they had their first decent chance. Charlie Collins’ corner from the right picked out the unmarked James who could only direct his header back out to Collins and when the ball came back in, this time James sent the ball over the bar.
Then with just over ten minutes to go before the break, Met Police edged in front. Sonny Miles tried to get the ball clear from defence but he was unfortunate to see the ball ricochet into the path of Bradley Hudson-Odoi who suddenly found himself with only Lee Worgan to beat and he calmly stroked the ball into the net.
It wasn’t long until the visitors threatened again. This time Hudson-Odoi chipped a decent ball into Will Salmon who was close to goal and as the Maidstone defence hesitated, he got a shot away which Worgan did well to block.
The Stones improved markedly after the break and they had the ball in the net on 51 minutes but the linesman flagged to indicate a player in an offside position. However, after spending long periods of time inside the Met Police half it wasn’t a surprise when Maidstone finally drew level not long past the hour mark. The energetic Alex Brown was fouled not far from the box and Frannie Collin stepped up to curl in a delightful finish into the left hand side of the net.
The goal gave the Stones fresh impetuous and they took the lead 17 minute from time. Stephen Butcher lifted a ball over the top of the back peddling Met Police defence to Jay May who held off two defenders and sent the ball past the stranded Nicholas Jupp in goal.
Then with just two minutes remaining, Maidstone rounded off the scoring. Substitute Charley Robertson found himself bearing down on goal and he showed good strength to beat the Met Police defenders and round Jupp before slotting a simple finish into the back of the net.
Maidstone United: Frannie Collin 66, Jay May 73, Charley Robertson 88
Metropolitan Police: Bradley Hudson Odoi 34
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Stephen Butcher, Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Sonny Miles, Alex Brown (Charley Robertson 83), Matt Bodkin, Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Jack Harris 89), Frannie Collin (James Rogers 77), Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Jamie Coyle, Will Godman.
Metropolitan Police: Nicholas Jupp, Elliot Taylor, Ricardo Joseph, Will Salmon, Steve Sutherland (Mitchell Gutteridge 59 (Reece Hall 80)), Billy Crook, Matt Pattison, Ryan James, Bradley Hudson-Odoi, Charlie Collins (Michael Charles 71), Edward Adjei. Subs not used: Matt Males, Dave Smalley.