Tuesday 9 September // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 1,646 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Just like last season, Kingstonian arrived at the Gallagher Stadium with their unbeaten record intact. But also like last season, the K’s found themselves defeated as the Stones turned on the style after the break and hit four goals for the second game in succession.
As the weeks go by, Maidstone are getting stronger and this was one of the Stones’ best performances in recent memory. Even early on the home side looked dangerous and with eight minutes gone, Matt Bodkin crossed for Alex Flisher who was in a central position and his header went over the bar.
Daniel Sweeney then lost out to Steve Watt just outside the box allowing Bodkin to gain possession and his effort was well tipped over the bar by Rob Tolfrey before the Stones went even closer on 23 minutes. A corner from Ben Greenhalgh came out to Sonny Miles and the Maidstone defender saw his header cleared away from the line.
The Stones kept pushing and Jack Parkinson played the ball to Tom Mills out on the left. Bodkin had made a run forwards and he was found by Mills before the Maidstone winger drove in a cross which Tolfrey just about managed to scramble clear at his near post. And minutes later, Tolfrey was called into action once more as this time he did well to parry a low shot from Frannie Collin.
As the match entered the later stages of the first half, the visitors started to threaten and with 36 minutes played, Andre McCollin gave the ball to Daniel Sweeney whose curling effort clipped the top of the bar. Then just seconds after this, a quickly taken free-kick resulted in Sweeney forcing Lee Worgan into a fine save as the Maidstone keeper tipped his effort over.
Then in first half stoppage time, Watt expertly won possession and played Flisher in down the left. Flisher raced into the area and hit a fierce shot which Tolfrey managed to beat away from goal.
Unfortunately for the Kingstonian keeper though, Tolfrey was unable to prevent the Stones from taking the lead four minutes after the interval. Flisher made a good run forward and picked out Ben Greenhalgh inside the area. Greenhalgh’s shot beat Tolfrey but was hacked off the line by Alan Inns and then in a goalmouth scramble, Greenhalgh got ahead of Flisher to force the ball over the line.
Tolfrey then demonstrated why he is considered to be one of the best keepers at this level. Flisher held up the ball well and curled a delightful pass into the area where it was met by Collin and his volley was expertly diverted behind by the Kingstonian keeper.
By now, Maidstone were in full flow. With 71 minutes gone, Greenhalgh clipped the ball forwards for Flisher to chase. Most people in the ground would have expected Inns to win the chase to the ball but he was outmuscled by Flisher who then sent a thumping finish past the stranded Tolfrey.
Five minutes later, the Stones’ evening got even better. A long kick downfield from Worgan was flicked on by substitute Jay May and Collin showed fantastic technique to smash a volley into the back of the net.
Having withdrawn both Collin and Flisher, Maidstone then threatened to have a wobble as the K’s pulled a goal back. On a relatively rare foray forward for the visitors, McCollin played a neat one-two with Tommy Kavanagh before picking his spot and placing the ball past Worgan.
Shortly afterwards, McCollin’s corner reached Sam Page at the back post but he was unable to keep the ball down and this was to be the last time that the K’s looked dangerous as Maidstone controlled the remaining moments. With two minutes left, Jack Parkinson won the ball in midfield and picked out substitute Ashley Miller. Despite having three defenders in attendance, Miller managed to get a rising shot away which just cleared the bar.
Miller was then involved again as Maidstone rounded off a fantastic performance with a fourth goal in the dying seconds. The Stones’ striker did well to stay on his feet and battle to win possession and he found Greenhalgh who lashed an unstoppable finish past Tolfrey.
Maidstone United: Ben Greenhalgh 49, 89, Alex Flisher 71, Frannie Collin 76
Kingstonian: Andre McCollin 83
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Dean Pooley, Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Alex Brown 79), Jack Parkinson, Ben Greenhalgh, Frannie Collin (Ashley Miller 82), Alex Flisher (Jay May 74). Subs not used: Michael Phillips, Will Godmon
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Aaron Goode, Josh Casey, Tommy Kavanagh, Sam Page, Alan Inns, Daniel Sweeney (Chris Henry 66), Steve Laidler, Nathaniel Pinney (Tyrone Berry 82), Andre McCollin, Alex Addai (Elvis Hammond 66).Subs not used: Matt Drage, Ryan Blake