Saturday 13 December // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 1,711 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
For the 11th time in 12 matches, the Stones registered a win at the Gallagher Stadium as they took maximum advantage of both Margate and Hendon drawing to cut the Gate’s lead at the top of the table to just three points.
This was the second game in a row where the Stones scored early on as only three minutes were on the clock when the deadlock was broken. Aaron Simpson curled in a good ball towards the edge of the box where Alex Flisher got a touch and then Jack Parkinson stepped up to calmly make room for a low shot which he drilled inside the right hand post.
It wasn’t long before Bognor started to get into the game though. With 11 minutes played, Harvey Whyte crossed from the right and he picked out the unmarked Ollie Pearce who had more time than he realised before he headed the ball just over the bar.
A cross from Alex Flisher then hit the top of the bar before Matt Bodkin slipped the ball down the wing for Simpson to chase. The Maidstone right back put a decent early ball into the area and the arriving Frannie Collin steered the chance wide.
By now though, Bognor was starting to dominate. Lee Worgan had to push Craig Robson’s curling cross away from goal but the Stones couldn’t get the ball clear and it came back to Robson who shot wide of the right hand post.
Then with 30 minutes played, Maidstone had a strong appeal for a penalty waived away by referee Mr Norcott. Matt Bodkin cushioned a header into Collin and as he got a shot in which Chris Winterton blocked, Collin was shoved in the back by Dan Sackman.
However, with the half time whistle eight minutes away, Bognor finally got the equaliser which they had been threatening for some time. Pearce crossed from out towards the left and Green impressively volleyed the ball inside the right hand post.
The last chance of the half fell to the Stones though. Simpson burst forward once again before calmly squaring the ball to Jay May and his low effort almost deceived Winterton who had to change direction as he was diving for the ball.
Maidstone stepped up the tempo after the break and they ensured that Bognor enjoyed significantly less possession. With 52 minutes gone, Winterton pushed Phil Starkey’s cross at Bodkin but the Bognor keeper did well to block Bodkin’s snap shot and then from the rebound, Winterton dived to save Collin’s low effort.
Not long after this, Sonny Miles appeared to be hauled down inside the box as he tried to reach Bodkin’s corner but no penalty was forthcoming. Then on 71 minutes, the Stones did edge in front. Simpson went on another excellent run out on the right and he did well to pick out Flisher who flicked in a shot which went in off the left hand post.
Worryingly for Maidstone, Flisher was then carried off on a stretcher with what appears to be a knee injury following a robust challenge from Whyte. And then with two minutes remaining, Bodkin sent over a deep cross which Miles headed back and Jack Parkinson’s overhead kick dropped wide of the left hand post.
Maidstone United: Jack Parkinson 3, Alex Flisher 71
Bognor Regis Town: Stuart Green 38
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson, Phil Starkey, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Alex Brown 90), Jack Parkinson, Jay May, Frannie Collin (Alex Akrofi 88), Alex Flisher (Ben Greenhalgh 78). Subs not used: Bradley Jordan, Will Godmon.
Bognor Regis Town: Chris Winterton, Harvey Whyte, James Crane, Doug Tuck (Charlie Oatway 83), Dan Sackman, Craig Robson, Stuart Green, Jake Thomson (Omarr Lawson 90), Jason Prior, Ollie Pearce, Alex Parsons. Subs not used: Ben Johnson, George Branford.