Tuesday 23 September // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 2,306 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s long unbeaten run, stretching back to the game against Canvey Island at the end of August, has been brought to a shuddering halt thanks to a solitary goal from one of the Ryman Premier Division’s leading scorers, Ryan Moss.
As expected this was a tight affair between the top two sides in the league. And despite the fact that the Stones were beaten for only the second time this season, on another occasion, Maidstone might have come away with a point as they created enough chances to warrant getting something from the game.
One of these came with just three minutes played when the Stones nearly caught Margate napping. Alex Flisher made a surging run and despite the attention of former Maidstone player Tom Phipp, Flisher was able to get free and get a shot away from close to the edge of the area which went just over the bar.
Phipp was to have a more positive influence though shortly afterwards. A corner from Barry Cogan was punched away by Lee Worgan and when it dropped to Phipp just outside the box he deftly deceived Matt Bodkin with a touch to bring the ball back inside but his rising drive went into the stand behind the goal.
Then with 18 minutes played, Maidstone went close to opening the scoring. A long throw from Alex Flisher was returned to him by James Rogers and his deep cross picked out Steve Watt who saw his header cleared away from close to the line by Charlie Wassmer.
As the half progressed, the home side began to edge possession but it was the Stones who threatened next. With 29 minutes gone, Watt and Jay May were involved in trying to play in Frannie Collin who saw his low effort deflect wide.
Luke Moore then saw a shot go straight into the arms of Worgan before a Margate mistake at the back nearly proved costly. The Gate gifted Flisher possession and he looked to capitalise but he found the area busy with home players and his early low effort was comfortably gathered by goalkeeper Nikki Bull.
Eight minutes before the break, there was a warning for Maidstone as Moss got in down the right hand side of the box only for the excellent Steve Watt to throw himself in the way of the resultant shot and make an important block. Then just moments later, the Stones survived a possible penalty appeal when Watt seemed to hold back Wassmer inside the box before the ball appeared to strike the Maidstone captain’s arm.
Margate finished the half strongly and they were to have two more attempts on goal before the interval. The first came when Moore set up Kane Wills who saw his shot from outside the box take a huge deflection but Worgan was able to make the save.
Then former Margate favourite Matt Bodkin missed his header in midfield leaving Phipp to hit a speculative effort from some distance but the ball bounced wide of the right hand post.
Six minutes into the second half the deadlock was finally broken though. The Stones had enjoyed a neat move down the left hand side which ended with Flisher’s shot in the box being blocked and unfortunately Maidstone were then ripped open on the break.
A quick ball out of defence sent Moore racing forwards and with Watt and Sonny Miles left exposed, Moore slipped the ball to Moss who made room for an early shot which he expertly placed past Worgan and into the net.
After falling behind, the Stones enjoyed a spell of pressure. Bodkin crossed for May who arrowed a header wide before Aaron Simpson slipped the ball into Collin who saw his low ball go all the way across the face of goal as it just evaded May.
Maidstone then thought they had put the ball in the net when Watt’s header crashed off the bar and appeared to cross the line but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside. And minutes later, Collin got in on goal and just as he rounded Bull, he found the ball whisked off his toes and it went behind for a corner.
With 13 minutes remaining, substitute Alex Brown drove the ball into the box where it appeared to strike Moore’s arm but no penalty was forthcoming and there was soon to be more disappointment for the Stones.
That came when Flisher ended a decent move involving the substitutes Brown and Ashley Miller by curling a cross into Watt who sent a header into the net but once again he was deemed to be in an offside position.
This was to be the last time that Maidstone looked like getting a point from the game as Margate saw out the remaining moments in a comfortable manner. And in fact, it was the Gate who could have added to their tally but Worgan made a fine save to deny Wills before Moore went close with a shot which he bent just wide of the right hand post.
Margate: Ryan Moss 51
Maidstone United: –
Margate: Nikki Bull, Tom Phipp, Anthony Riviere, Charlie Allen, Charlie Wassmer, John Beales, Barry Cogan (Jamie Taylor 59), Kane Wills, Ryan Moss, Zac Attwood, Luke Moore. Subs not used: Adam Cash, Jason Prior, Jamie Stuart, Tom Beadle.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson (Jamie Coyle 90), Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Sonny Miles, James Rogers (Ashley Miller 76), Matt Bodkin (Alex Brown 56), Jack Parkinson, Jay May, Frannie Collin, Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Michael Phillips, Will Godmon