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Maidstone United 2-1 Leatherhead

Tuesday 9 December // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 1,094 // Report by Ruth Tunnell

The Stones have begun the process of hauling in Margate at the top of the Ryman League Premier Division after they notched up their 16th win of the season thanks to goals from Jay May and Jamie Coyle.

After Saturday’s disappointment at Wrexham, Maidstone would have hoped to get off to a strong start and they couldn’t have asked for a better opening to the game as they scored one of the fastest goals recorded at the Gallagher Stadium.

Leatherhead kicked off but Aaron Simpson won the ball with his head and he found Jack Parkinson. Parkinson played the ball to Tom Mills who in turn hit a long ball forward which Alex Flisher knocked down and Jay May arrived to drill in a superb low finish from the edge of the box.

Maidstone then should have doubled their tally just two minutes later. The ball was played out wide to Frannie Collin who showed good awareness to back heel it into the path of Matt Bodkin who was in a decent position inside the box and with the goal looming in front of him, he curled his effort over the bar.

The game then entered a lull before the Tanners had a decent chance to pull level. Sonny Miles was penalised for apparently fouling Carl Rook just outside the area and Stacy Long sent the resultant free-kick past the wall. Lee Worgan made a fine save to parry Long’s shot and then from the rebound, Vas Karagiannis steered the ball past the left hand post.

With 27 minutes played, Miles put a fine cross field pass out to Flisher whose impeccable timing with a header took the ball past Ryan Mahal but the Maidstone winger then drove a low shot across the face of goal. Shortly afterwards, Flisher had an even more difficult opportunity from a similar position as he hit Collin’s ball first time but once again, his effort went wide.

Louis Wells then got a feint touch to the ball as he dived full length to deny Collin who had shot on the turn from the edge of the area before the Leatherhead keeper made another save with half time approaching. This time, Parkinson hit an excellent ball forwards for Collin to chase. The Maidstone striker then laid it into the path of Flisher and his low shot was pushed wide by Wells.

Unfortunately for the visitors though, Wells couldn’t prevent the Stones from scoring just six minutes after the break. A long throw from Flisher caused the Leatherhead defence problems and Bodkin’s shot was diverted behind for a corner. This was taken by Bodkin and he sent the ball straight to Jamie Coyle who was waiting by the back post and he headed the ball into the net.

It wasn’t long until Maidstone made matters slightly trickier for themselves though. With an hour gone, Vas Karagiannis was allowed to cut inside past Tom Mills and as he pulled into space, he bent a fine finish inside the left hand post.

A few moments after this, Aaron Simpson put a decent cross into the box which Flisher headed wide of the right hand post before the Stones went even closer with an headed effort. A cross from substitute Ben Greenhalgh was eventually whipped back across the box by Flisher and the arriving May saw his header impressively saved at point blank range by Wells.

Then with the game in its final stages, Wells once again came to Leatherhead’s rescue. Flisher found substitute Alex Akrofi who had his back to goal and he unselfishly slipped the ball into fellow substitute Alex Brown whose fierce shot was turned behind by Wells.

Maidstone United: Jay May 1, Jamie Coyle 51

Leatherhead: Vas Karagiannis 60

Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Aaron Simpson, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Ben Greenhalgh 66), Jack Parkinson, Jay May (Alex Akrofi 87), Frannie Collin (Alex Brown 76), Alex Flisher. Subs not used: Phil Starkey, Will Godmon.

Leatherhead: Louis Wells, Ryan Mahal, Ryan Dolby (Neil Garrett 72), Matt Smart, Ryan Cooper (Kev Terry 88), Jerry Nnamani, Kiernan Hughes-Mason, Richard Avery, Carl Rook, Stacy Long, Vas Karagiannis. Subs not used: Paul Semakula, Mark Nwokeji, , George Whitelock

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