Saturday 20 December // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 1,996 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
As this game entered the 90th minute, the Stones were temporarily on top of the Ryman Premier Division.
A header from Frannie Collin had given them a narrow lead over high flying Hendon and Peacehaven and Telscombe had come from a goal behind to beat Margate 2-1.
But then Maidstone conceded a corner and Elliott Braithwaite sent a thumping header into the net to ensure the Stones will have to wait a little longer before reclaiming the lead of the division.
The first half was a largely quiet affair but with five minutes gone, Jay May kept battling to win the ball and he found Ben Greenhalgh who was close to the edge of the area. Greenhalgh’s shot was blocked and it span out to Frannie Collin whose effort was heading in until Braithwaite made an important interception inside the six yard box.
Not long after this, Hendon went close. A deep corner came out to Charlie Goode and his cross swerved as it went across the area and smacked against the cross bar.
As the first half moved into its later stages, the Stones did begin to create more opportunities. Frannie Collin hit a long ball forward for May to chase and he back-heeled it to the arriving Parkinson who curled a shot straight at Ben McNamara in the Hendon goal.
Parkinson was involved again shortly afterwards when he picked out Collin who was inside the box with his back to goal. Collin managed to spin into space but from a difficult angle he lifted the ball wide of the left hand post.
Then with 43 minutes gone, Jamie Coyle hit a diagonal ball into the area. Sonny Miles was in an advanced position and the centre half knocked the ball down to May who wasn’t able to connect with the ball fully and McNamara made a comfortable save.
As expected, the Stones picked up the pace after the break. With 48 minutes gone, Parkinson slid an excellent ball down the box to Greenhalgh who pulled it back into the middle to Bodkin who smashed a fierce shot goalwards which McNamara did well to tip onto the bar.
However, McNamara was finally beaten four minutes later. Sonny Miles sent an excellent diagonal ball out of defence which was flicked on by May to Bodkin. Bodkin whipped in a perfect delivery which was met by Collin and he arrowed a header into the net.
Moments later, the Stones should have doubled their lead. Greenhalgh gained possession inside the box and nutmegged Chris Seeby but he took an age to get a shot away despite being close to goal and when he did finally hit it, his effort was blocked for a corner.
Just before the hour mark, the Stones broke quickly and Miles drilled a pass out to Collin. Collin played the ball just behind Bodkin who was approaching the edge of the box but the Maidstone winger managed to get a rising shot away which just cleared the cross bar.
Hendon then started to enjoy more possession but it was the home side who went close again 11 minutes from time. Greenhalgh sent a deep cross to the back post where it was met by Bodkin and his header was well tipped over the bar by McNamara.
Then with the game in stoppage time, Braithwaite chose a good time to have Hendon’s first effort on target. Mills conceded a corner which was sent into the box by substitute Tony Taggart and Braithwaite raced onto the cross to send an unstoppable header into the right hand side of the net and give the visitors a share of the points.
Maidstone United: Frannie Collin 52
Hendon: Elliott Braithwaite 90
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Phil Starkey, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, James Rogers (Chris Piper 67), Matt Bodkin, Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Alex Akrofi 76), Frannie Collin (Alex Brown 85), Ben Greenhalgh. Subs not used: Steve Watt, Will Godmon.
Hendon: Ben McNamara, Chris Seeby, Oliver Sprague (Tony Taggart 76), Charlie Goode, Elliott Braithwaite, James Fisher (Dave Diedhiou 76), Sam Murphy, Lee O’Leary, Leon Smith, Kezie Ibe, Andre Da Costa (Casey Maclaren 76). Subs not used: Adam Wallace, Peter Dean.