Saturday 27 September // FA Cup Second Qualifying Round // Attendance: 1,464 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
The Stones knew that they would probably be playing in Essex on Tuesday night and for most of this game, it looked as though they were going to be involved a FA Cup replay at Brentwood Town.
But then Jack Parkinson popped up with a winner deep into stoppage time to ensure that Maidstone now travel to Witham Town for a league fixture rather than face a tricky FA Cup re-run against a well organised Blues side.
This result was hard on Brentwood who worked hard and arguably had the better chances to win this game. And it was the vistors who took an early lead. With six minutes gone, the ball went forward to Robbie Rees who was about 25 yards from goal and he hit a strike similar to Danny May’s for Harrow Borough a couple of weeks ago and his fine effort flew past Lee Worgan.
The Stones pushed forwards in search of a quick equaliser and they went close just two minutes later. Frannie Collin slipped the ball into Ben Greenhalgh who was about eight yards from goal only for Martyn Stokes to throw himself in the way and make an important block.
However, Maidstone did level the scores on 12 minutes. The Stones kept possession well and the ball came to Aaron Simpson who whipped in a decent cross that was met by Greenhalgh and he sent a header past the stranded Oliver Bowles
The game had a lethargic feel to it as the Stones struggled to recreate the tempo that they had on Tuesday night against Margate but they went close to edging in front just past the midway point of the first half. Once again Greenhalgh was involved and this time he put a cross towards the back post where it was met by the climbing Alex Flisher but his header just missed the target.
Then as the interval approached, Flisher’s pull back was only cleared as far as Tom Mills. Mills drove the ball back into the box where it was picked up by Frannie Collin and his shot was heading in until Oliver Bowles intervened to push the ball behind for a corner.
Three minutes after the interval, Maidstone strung together a good move. Jay May headed the ball into the path of Flisher who pulled it back into the middle. Collin was unable to make contact and it came to Brown who saw his shot deflected behind for the corner.
But after this, it was Brentwood who looked the more likely to edge in front up until the final moments. Sixty seconds after Brown’s effort on goal, Sonny Miles missed the ball letting Alex Akrofi in and he quickly found Robbie Rees who only had Worgan to beat but his weak shot went straight at the Maidstone keeper.
Akrofi was involved again shortly afterwards. This time he found himself bearing down on goal and was one on one with Worgan but the Maidstone keeper made a decent save with his legs.
Just the before the hour mark, Louis Baucutt’s free-kick threatened to creep in at the far post but Worgan pushed it wide. Then moments later, Shad Ngandu drove forwards and hit a shot which seemed certain to go in until Worgan once again made a fine save
It wasn’t until the last ten minutes that Maidstone suddenly increased their urgency. With 84 minutes gone, Collin lifted the ball into substitute Matt Bodkin who shot towards the near post and Oliver Bowles scrambled it away from the line.
Another substitute, Ashley Miller, then hit a good drive goalwards which was matched by an equally decent block from Bowles. Miller looked lively though and he was presented with another opportunity as the game entered its last moments but this time he fired the ball across the face of goal.
However, with the game deep in stoppage time, the Stones finally scored. Collin won a corner which was taken by Flisher and his cross was met by Parkinson who headed the ball through Darryl Robson’s legs on the line to send the Gallagher Stadium wild.
Maidstone United: Ben Greenhalgh 12, Jack Parkinson 90
Brentwood Town: Robbie Rees 6
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, Alex Brown (James Rogers 67), Ben Greenhalgh (Ashley Miller 79), Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Matt Bodkin 67), Frannie Collin, Alex Flisher. Subs not used:Ellis Iandolo, Steve Watt, Bradley Jordan, Will Godmon.
Brentwood Town: Oliver Bowles, Christian Mbulu, Louis Baucutt, Martyn Stokes, Ryan O’Rawe, Danny Dafter, Shad Ngandu, Darryl Robson, Alex Akrofi, Robbie Rees (Courtney White 80), Sam Bantick (Jack Gardner 70). Subs not used: Yeshaya Lomotye, Adam Rooke, Jason Dobbs, James Pelin, Sherwin Stanley.