Saturday 31 January // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 504 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
A solitary strike from Alex Brown five minutes before the interval was enough to see the Stones edge past a strong Kingstonian side to make sure Maidstone maintained the gap at the top of the table as both Margate and Dulwich Hamlet picked up maximum points.
With Jack Parkinson suspended and Jay May able to return after a six week absence following a hamstring injury, Jay Saunders changed Maidstone’s formation with May, Frannie Collin and Billy Bricknell all starting for the Stones. And it was Collin and Brown, who haven’t always featured for the Stones in recent weeks, who particularly caught the eye with energetic performances.
On six minutes, Malachi Hudson’s ball out to Steve Laidler on the right hand side of the box wasn’t picked up by the Stones’ defence. The cross came across the box which Maidstone couldn’t clear and it eventually reached Laidler whose shot was smothered by Lee Worgan.
Shortly afterwards, Jay May and Frannie Collin exchanged passes close to the edge of the box. May found himself in a bit of space and his rising effort cleared the left hand post.
After a bright opening, Maidstone began to fade a bit and the K’s started to dominate. On 24 minutes, Adam Doyle’s flicked header was going inside the right hand post until Worgan intervened with a flying one handed save.
The home side soon went close again. This time, Josh Casey’s drive from the edge of the area took a significant deflection off Steve Watt and crashed off the middle of the cross bar before Worgan made another fine save to deny Laidler as it opened up for the K’s midfielder on the edge of the box.
A free-kick from Collin then caused a scramble inside the box and Matt Bodkin tried to drive the ball across the six yard box where unfortunately no Maidstone player could turn it over the line. However, the Stones were to have more luck five minutes before the break. A good spell of possession from Maidstone was finished off when Bodkin crossed for Collin who headed the ball down and Alex Brown arrived to side foot in a composed finished off the left hand post.
With the game in first half stoppage time, there was then an opportunity for the Stones to pull further ahead. A corner from Collin towards the near post was met by May but from close range, he was unable to keep his volley down and it flew over the bar.
After the break, May was involved again for the Stones. Craig Stone put a cross into the box which Collin took into space with his chest and he did well to pull the ball back into the middle where May got a touch only for Rob Tolfrey to punch the ball away from close to the line.
The home side then began to enjoy a spell of possession and on 58 minutes, a goal kick from Tolfrey squirmed under Steve Watt’s feet. The ball came to Charlie Penny who started to rush towards goal but he was quickly put under pressure by Sonny Miles and his resultant shot was easily caught by Worgan.
Not long after this, the ball came to Laidler who was in space inside the box and he wastefully blazed the opportunity over the bar. The K’s kept pushing though and when Casey went past Collin with ease close to the left hand touchline, it looked as though Kingstonian might finally breach Maidstone’s defence but Casey’s low cross went all the way through the six yard box without being touched.
However, the K’s were unable to capitalise on this period of pressure and as the second half wore on, the Stones looked as though they might add to their tally. With 68 minutes gone, some good play between substitute Ben Greenhalgh and Bricknell ended with the ball being played into May but the Maidstone striker was always off balance and he bundled the chance wide. Then eight minutes from time, Bricknell crossed from the right and May’s header at the near post was held by Tolfrey.
Maidstone United: Alex Brown 40
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Aaron Goode, Dylan Casey, Daniel Sweeney, Sam Page (Elvis Hammond 86), Adam Doyle, Malachi Hudson (Jesse Darko 66), Steve Laidler, Charlie Penny, Pelayo Pico Gomez, Josh Casey. Subs not used: Will Bor, Steve Butterworth, Alex Addai.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Craig Stone, Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Sonny Miles, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Ben Greenhalgh 66), Alex Brown, Jay May, Frannie Collin, Billy Bricknell (Alex Akrofi 90). Subs not used: Nathan Elder, Phil Starkey, Will Godmon.