Saturday 30 August // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 1511 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United bounced back from their Bank Holiday defeat at Tonbridge Angels in the best possible manner as they struck five times to comfortably see off Canvey Island.
During the first half of this match, the Stones played arguably their best football of the season so far with Alex Flisher looking particularly impressive in a rare start up front alongside Frannie Collin. However, Maidstone were aided somewhat by Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton in the Canvey goal who would probably like to forget his first half performance.
The Stones could not have wished for a better start to this game. With just three minutes gone, Maidstone broke quickly after Tom Mills intercepted a corner from Anthony Thomas and gave the ball to Matt Bodkin. Bodkin made a long run forward before finding Ben Greenhalgh who cut into space just outside the area. Greenhalgh’s shot didn’t have that much pace on it but Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton couldn’t hold onto the ball and Frannie Collin nipped in to score from close range.
It wasn’t long before Maidstone added to their lead as with 16 minutes on the clock, Jack Parkinson got on the score sheet. Canvey were unable to clear their lines and Collin picked up possession before spotting Parkinson in space inside the box and when he received the ball, the midfielder sent a low finish into the right hand side the net.
The Stones continued to look dangerous when attacking and ten minutes later, Tom Mills was brought down just outside the box. Collin curled the free-kick towards goal and once again, St Louis-Hamilton made a hash of an attempted save which enabled Parkinson to tap in the rebound.
Shortly afterwards, Rio Bryan Edwards and St Louis-Hamilton got into a muddle at the back which led to Greenhalgh picking up the ball close to the edge of the box. Unfortunately for the Stones though, Greenhalgh’s attempt at a lob sailed over the bar.
Canvey’s miserable afternoon then got even worse as they lost John Easterford and Jay Curran to injury before Flisher did well down on the left hand touchline and he picked Bodkin. Bodkin was inside the six yard box and his shot at the near post was spilled by St Louis-Hamilton but Canvey were able to scramble the ball clear.
However, on 40 minutes, Maidstone added a stunning fourth goal. Sonny Miles sent a long ball out of defence which drew St Louis-Hamilton from his line. Flisher managed to get in front of both the Canvey keeper and Mike Jones and his overhead kick from close to the edge of the box sailed over the Gulls pair and into the net.
Not long after the break, Aaron Simpson got caught by Victor Osobu out on the Canvey left. The ball got worked across to Harrison Chatting who was inside the area and his shot appeared to be goal bound until Simpson did well to get across and make an important block.
Maidstone’s momentum had been disrupted by the interval but they had a good opportunity to further extend their lead on 67 minutes. Mike Jones was deceived by the spin of the ball allowing Greenhalgh to get in and find himself with only St Louis-Hamilton to beat. The Stones player went for a delicate finish though and his attempted chip was comfortably captured by the Canvey keeper.
As the game moved towards full time, the Gulls suddenly pulled a goal back. With four minutes left, Osobu appeared to be offside as he turned into space inside the box but no flag was forthcoming and although Osobu’s initial shot was blocked by Lee Worgan, the Maidstone keeper could do nothing to stop the rebound going past him.
Then two minutes left, the Stones conceded again. Substitute Marlon Agyakwa did well to trick his way into the box and his effort deflected kindly into the path of Rob Bartley who stabbed the ball into the net.
It was the home side though who were to round off the scoring for the afternoon. Three minutes into stoppage time. Miles hit a good searching ball forwards and James Rogers timed his run to perfection to get on the end of it down the left. Rogers then pulled the ball back into the middle where it reached Collin who fired in his fourth goal of the season.
Maidstone United: Frannie Collin 3, 90 Jack Parkinson 16, 26, Alex Flisher 40.
Canvey Island: Victor Osobu 87, Rob Bartley 89
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson, Tom Mills (Michael Phillips 73), Steve Watt, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Ashley Miller 65), Jack Parkinson, Ben Greenhalgh, Frannie Collin, Alex Flisher (Alex Brown 78). Subs not used: Stephen Butcher, Will Godmon
Canvey Island: Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton, Rio Bryan Edwards, Ashley Dumas, Mike Jones, Rob Bartley, John Easterford (Charlie Barlow 45), Anthony Thomas, Harrison Chatting, Jay Curran (Marlon Agyakwa 29), John Sands (Joe Carter 45), Victor Osobu Subs Not Used: Daniel King, Aaron Tatham