Saturday 1 November // FA Trophy First Qualifying Round // Attendance: 1,226 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
After successes against Welling and Bromley in the last two fixtures, Maidstone United made it three wins in row in cup competitions after they twice came from behind to knock out Walton and Hersham in the FA Trophy.
With the FA Cup first round fixture against Stevenage Borough just over a week away, it wasn’t perhaps surprising that Maidstone weren’t at their best during this match but despite this, they were never fully tested by their Ryman One South opponents
With just 12 minutes gone, the Stones fell behind. Gareth Chendlik made a decent run down the left and his low ball into the box looked to be going across the six yard box until it was accidentally diverted into the net by Jamie Coyle.
But Maidstone responded quickly and were level just three minutes later. As has been the case so many times this season, a throw from Alex Flisher caused the opposition’s defence problems and although Frannie Collin and Matt Bodkin saw their efforts blocked, Jay May was on hand to stab in the equaliser from about six yards.
Despite levelling quickly, the Stones were still looking lethargic. A quick break from Walton and Hersham saw Phil Starkey miss his header and Andrew Mensah passed to Dylan Cascoe who shot straight at Lee Worgan from the edge of the box
Just pass the half an hour mark, Chendlik drew a diving save from Worgan and then from this, the Stones moved quickly up field. Jack Parkinson found Collin and he moved into space inside the box before thumping a shot just wide of the right hand post.
But then with 35 minutes gone, the visitors went ahead once again. A decent move ended with a diagonal ball to Cascoe which drew Worgan way off his line and the Maidstone keeper hesitated allowing Cascoe to knock the ball past him and into the net.
The Stones upped their game after the interval and on 47 minutes, a decent passing move ended with Parkinson playing the ball to Bradley Jordan. Jordan’s forward ball took a slightly fortunate deflection but Flisher turned quickly and he gained possession before firing a trademark low finish past the stranded Gary Ross.
Not long after this, Collin played a good pass into Tom Mills. The Maidstone left back was by the touchline at this point and he stood the ball up into the middle where it was met by the leaping Jay May and his header went wide.
Then with 67 minutes on the clock, Maidstone grabbed what turned out to be the winner. A poor goal kick from Ross went straight to Parkinson and he curled a delightful pass into the box where it was carefully watched by Flisher and he timed his header to perfection as he arrowed the ball into the net.
There after there was little to excite the crowd at the Gallagher Stadium apart from once chance with just a minute left. Worgan came out from goal to take a free-kick inside the Maidstone half and he put a decent delivery into Walton’s box where it was met by Collin who took a touch to take the ball into space but he was unable to finish off the move.
Maidstone United: Jay May 15, Alex Flisher 47, 67.
Walton & Hersham: Jamie Coyle 12 (O.G), Dylan Cascoe 35
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Phil Starkey, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, Bradley Jordan, Matt Bodkin (James Rogers 70), Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Ben Greenhalgh 64), Frannie Collin, Alex Flisher (Alex Brown 74). Subs Not Used: Aaron Simpson, Will Godmon
Walton & Hersham: Gary Ross, Nathan Daly, Dominic Ogun, Andre Scarlett, Jahmahl King, Harry Mills, Tarome Hemmings (Kadeem Ajeon 83), Anthony Oaks (Vernon Francis 71), Gareth Chendik (Andrew Dalhouse 76), Andrew Mensah, Dylan Cascoe. Subs Not Used: Julian Bartos, Kwabena Osei.