Tuesday 12 August // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 369 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s strong start to the season continues as goals from Jay May and Matt Bodkin gave the Stones an early lead at the top of the Ryman Premier Division.
With a third of the 2014 / 2015 campaign to be completed by the end of September, any team with promotion ambitions needs to hit form early on and Maidstone put in a good performance away at their former Kent League rivals.
Just two minutes had gone when the Stones went close to opening the scoring. Matt Bodkin crossed from the right and picked out Tom Mills who was lurking just outside the box and the Maidstone left back let fly with a volley which Nick Blue did well to tip over the bar.
It wasn’t long until the home side threatened though. VCD broke quickly out of defence and played the ball out to James Duckworth who stretched the Stones’ back line. Stephen Butcher went with him and in the end the Maidstone right back got in the way of Duckworth’s shot to deflect the ball behind for a corner.
There wasn’t then much to note until the 20th minute when a mistake from Blue gifted the Stones the lead. A long throw from Alex Flisher came in from the Maidstone right and Blue got his hands to it only to let the ball go presenting Jay May with the chance to stab in his second goal in as many games.
Blue then partly redeemed himself with a good save to deny Bodkin before a corner from Ahmed Deen was only partly pushed away by Lee Worgan. The ball dropped inside the middle of the box and Lea Dawson sent an overhead kick towards goal which Alex Brown headed away from the line.
Maidstone continued to look the more dangerous going forwards and Bodkin, Flisher and Mills all saw efforts go over the bar as the interval approached. Then not long before the hour mark, the Stones started to up the pressure once again. Steve Watt played the ball out of defence which May headed on and then Frannie Collin did well to win possession and out sprint Grant Basey. Collin found himself with Blue to beat and the VCD keeper did well to push his shot wide.
There was then a succession of corners during which time Jack Parkinson saw his header clawed away from the line by Blue before Maidstone added a second goal. Bodkin took another corner from the right which the VCD defence could not clear fully and when the ball came back out the area, Bodkin was on hand to riffle in a nice finish through a crowded box.
After this, Maidstone saw out the game comfortably but there was still time for them to string together a fine move with 71 minutes played. May chipped the ball up to Flisher who directed a header down into the path of Collin who was at a tight angle and his low effort was turned away from his near post by Blue.
VCD Athletic: –
Maidstone United: Jay May, Matt Bodkin
VCD Athletic: Nick Blue, Elliott Cox, Ahmed Deen, Grant Basey, Ben Payne, Lea Dawson, Dean Carpenter, Karl Dent (Lewis Perkins 63), Michael Power, James Duckworth (Leigh Bremner 81), Ellis Green. Subs not used: Peter Smith, Stephen Smith, Taylor McDonagh.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Stephen Butcher, Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Sonny Miles, Alex Brown, Matt Bodkin (James Rogers 77), Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Jack Harris 83), Frannie Collin (Charley Robertson 86), Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Jamie Coyle, Will Godman.