Saturday 24 January // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 2,202 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s unbeaten league record at the Gallagher Stadium, which had stretched back to the end of April last season, has gone after the Stones were well beaten by a spirited Enfield side who fully deserved the victory.
This was one of those afternoons where Maidstone never really got going and despite playing with four strikers as the game moved towards its conclusion, they failed to seriously test Nathan McDonald in the Towners goal.
With 14 minutes gone, Billy Bricknell saw a low cross into the box cleared and Enfield broke up field. Corey Whitley got in down the right and he found Bobby Devyne who hit a shot on target which Sonny Miles managed to block before it reached the diving Lee Worgan.
Shortly afterwards, Ben Greenhalgh kept battling inside the box but Nathan McDonald in the Enfield goal pushed his effort wide. Then Steve Watt hit an excellent pass out to the left hand side which picked out Bricknell. The Maidstone striker was under pressure from two defenders and despite this, he got a low drive away which went across the face of goal.
The Stones were trying to pick up the momentum at this point in the game and Jack Parkinson put a good ball out to the right wing to Matt Bodkin. Bodkin put his head down and ran towards the touchline before delivering a decent cross which was met by Frannie Collin at the near post and his angled header went straight into McDonald’s hands.
But just 60 seconds later, Enfield took the lead. The ball bounced off Shane Huke for a corner which Nathan Livings drifted into the box and the Maidstone defence appeared to stop allowing Claudio Vilcu to poke the ball in from close range.
There after, the Stones seem to struggle to impose themselves for the rest of the half but they did go close on two further occasions before the break. The first came when Huke was brought down just outside the box by Stanley Muguo who was booked for the challenge and Collin took the resultant free-kick which he struck just over the bar.
Then with the first half in stoppage time, Greenhalgh put a good corner into the box which was met by the travelling Parkinson although he was unable to direct his header on the target and it flew just inches over the bar.
Jay Saunders brought Alex Brown on at the break for Greenhalgh but Enfield continued to keep the Stones at bay. And it was the visitors who threatened again on 57 minutes when Livings burst through only to be denied twice by sliding challenges from Watt.
Parkinson did see a rising effort hit the top of the cross bar and a header from Watt went just over as Maidstone tried to push on for an equaliser but six minutes from time, Enfield made sure of the win. The Stones got caught by a rapid break, and by the fact that Parkinson was unable to respond after being fouled in midfield, leaving Devyne in on goal. Despite Worgan’s best efforts, Devyne confidently dispatched a decent finish past the stranded Maidstone keeper.
And just three minutes later, Enfield rounded off a good afternoon for the visitors. Once again the Stones got caught out as they had poured forwards and Watt was unable to prevent Devyne getting in and beating Worgan.
Maidstone United: –
Enfield Town: Claudio Vilcu 23, Bobby Devyne 84, 87
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Shane Huke, Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Sonny Miles, James Rogers (Alex Akrofi 77), Matt Bodkin (Nathan Elder 59), Jack Parkinson, Billy Bricknell, Frannie Collin, Ben Greenhalgh (Alex Brown 45). Subs not used: Jamie Coyle, Will Godmon
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jordan Lockie, Ryan Doyle, Claudio Vilcu, Mark Kirby, Stanley Mugou, Tyler Campbell (Ricky Gabriel 78), Aryan Tajbakhsh (Liam Hope 72), Corey Whitely, Bobby Devyne (Darnell Wynter 79), Nathan Livings. Subsnot used: Michael Kalu, Jon Constant.