Saturday 27 December // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 746 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
For the second week in a row, the Stones conceded a 90th minute goal to ensure that they were denied the maximum points they needed knock Margate off the top of the league.
This was always going to be a tricky fixture for Maidstone. Only last week, Peacehaven had taken Margate’s unbeaten home record and the Stones’ task was made all the more challenging having lost Jay May to injury against Hendon and Jack Parkinson to illness.
As a result, Jay Saunders changed the formation of his team. Club captain Steve Watt, who was himself returning from a thigh injury, was pushed up front with Alex Brown and Chris Piper coming into midfield and wide players Matt Bodkin and Ben Greenhalgh were dropped to the bench.
Maidstone got off to the ideal start though. Just two minutes where on the clock when James Rogers’ corner was headed back across goal by Jamie Coyle and after a goalmouth scramble, Alex Akrofi managed to get the vital touch to fire the ball over the line.
With a strong and bitter wind behind them, Peacehaven looked dangerous from set pieces. On eight minutes, Josh Jones curled a free-kick goalwards which Lee Worgan managed to hold onto and then shortly afterwards, Tom Burton slipped a pass into Trevor McReade who let the ball run on before firing well off target.
McReade found himself in again following a ball from Jones only to shoot straight at Worgan. Then Jones struck another free kick from just outside the box which flashed across the face of goal.
It wasn’t until past the mid way point of the first half that Maidstone threatened again. Frannie Collin hit a good long ball forwards which picked out Akrofi who had his back to goal. Akrofi did well to turn and burst into space and as he got into the box, he hit a low shot which was heading for the bottom right hand corner of the net until Joe Gatting turned it behind for a corner.
There was then a good passage of play from Maidstone out on the right, Phil Starkey, Chris Piper and Alex Brown were all involved and the move ended with Brown surging towards the box before letting fly and his effort hit the roof of the net.
The strong wind wasn’t helping the game to flow though and it wasn’t until just before the hour mark that there was anything else to note. McReade managed to catch the Stones defence out and only had Worgan to beat but he rushed his shot and fired over when well placed.
As the second half wore on, the home side enjoyed the greater share of possession and the Stones were perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty seven minutes from time when Phil Starkey appeared to barge rather heavily into substitute Wilfred Grimauld.
But with the match in stoppage time, Starkey did concede a penalty after McReade went down inside the box and goalkeeper Gatting stepped up to send Worgan the wrong way in the box to give Peacehaven a share of the points.
Peacehaven and Telscombe: Joe Gatting (pen) 90
Maidstone United: Alex Akrofi 2
Peacehaven and Telscombe: Joe Gatting, Steve Metcalf, Mark Knee, Lloyd Cotton, Ash Jones, Dan McLaughlin (Sami El-Abd 74), Jamie Brotherton (Wilfred Grimauld 60), James Fragger, Trevor McReade, Tom Burton, Josh Jones. Subs not used:John Marzetti, James Hammond, Alieu Secko.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Phil Starkey, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Chris Piper (Ben Greenhalgh 79), Steve Watt, Alex Akrofi (Matt Bodkin 64), Frannie Collin, Alex Brown. Subs not used: Bradley Jordan, Aaron Simpson, Will Godmon.