Saturday 20 September // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 621 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United go into the big match against Margate on Tuesday night sitting on top of the Ryman Premier Division as they kept their excellent winning streak going with a comfortable victory away at Lewes.
Whilst the Stones didn’t hit the heights that they did against Kingstonian the other week and the game didn’t have the same levels of drama as the win on Tuesday night against Harrow, this was still a professional performance from Maidstone. Last season, the Stones would have probably drawn this match but they never let Lewes look like they were going to snatch a victory and with Alex Flisher and Frannie Collin in such good goal scoring form, the visitors were always going to cause the Rooks problems.
Maidstone looked to gain an early advantage and they went close with just six minutes played. A deep corner from Matt Bodkin was headed down by Flisher to Collin whose shot on the turn was blocked by the legs of Rikki Banks at the base of his left hand post.
Shortly afterwards, Collin was involved again. This time the Maidstone striker did well to win the ball on the touchline and he pulled the ball back to Jack Parkinson inside the box who hit a fierce swerving effort which flew just wide of the far post.
There was then little to note from either of the two sides for the remainder of the half after that with Maidstone just falling short with their final ball after good approach play on a number of occasions. The Stones upped the tempo after the break though and on 48 minutes, Flisher battled well to win the ball right on the touchline. He then found Collin who crossed for Jay May but May had to climb high to make the header and he could only find Banks’ hands.
Banks then saved a weak effort from Bodkin before the Stones edged in front just after the hour mark. A long throw from Alex Flisher was initially blocked but it eventually dropped to Bodkin whose shot deflected into the path of Flisher and the Maidstone winger took a touch to make space before lashing an unstoppable finish past Banks.
Nicky Wheeler then hit the bar for Lewes and the ball bounced down close to the line but even if it had crossed it, the goal wouldn’t have stood as the linesman had his flag raised for offside. The play then immediately swung to the other end with Aaron Simpson picking out May only for Banks to make a good save to deny the Maidstone striker.
Whilst the Stones looked the stronger of the two sides, Lewes did have an opportunity to pull level 15 minutes from time. Nathan Crabb put a deep cross into the box which was met by the unmarked Louis John but the Rooks player headed the ball well wide.
Then not long after this, Collin’s headed the ball forwards which May worked hard to win. May entered the box and with Banks off his line, the Maidstone forward saw his rising shot just clear the bar.
However, the Stones did make sure of the win five minutes from time. Maidstone opened up the home side down the right hand side and May unselfishly squared the ball to substitute Michael Phillips who swept home his first goal of the season.
Maidstone United: Alex Flisher 61, Michael Phillips 85
Lewes: Rikki Banks, Steve Brinkhurst, Sam Cole (Terry Dodd 66), Ollie Rowe, Louis John, Phil Appiah (James Stinson 73), Nicky Wheeler, Jack Dixon, Elliott Romain (James Fergany 83), Nathan Crabb, Fraser Logan. Subs not used: Luke Blewden, Ross Treleaven.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Alex Brown 67), Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Ashley Miller 88), Frannie Collin (Michael Phillips 82), Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Ben Greenhalgh, Will Godmon