Tuesday 3 February // Kent Senior Cup // Attendance: 755 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
The Stones have crashed out the Kent Senior Cup at the quarter final stage after they were thrashed by a Charlton Athletic youth development side.
Maidstone’s defence were given a torrid time on occasions but that perhaps wasn’t a surprise given the quality that was evident throughout the Addicks’ young side. Striker Karlan Ahearne-Grant, who helped himself to a hat-trick, has been given a three year professional contract with Charlton and has represented England at under 18 level whilst defender Harry Lennon has already featured for the first team in the Championship.
After a quiet opening ten minutes, the game suddenly sprang to life. Alex Akrofi found Ben Greenhalgh who made space to pull the ball back into the middle of the box where it was met by Freddy Hansen and his shot crashed off the bar.
But it wasn’t long before Charlton assumed control of the game as they scored three times in just four minutes. Their first came when Terrell Thomas cut Maidstone’s defence open by passing to Mikhail Kennedy and although Will Godman got a hand to his low drive, he was unable to prevent Karlan Ahearne-Grant from scoring from close range.
The Addicks moved the ball well shortly after this with Archie Edwards and Zak Ansah involved as the visitors kept possession nicely inside the Maidstone box. Edwards then pulled the ball back which Godman got a hand to but his attempted block went straight to Harry Gerard who couldn’t miss the opportunity to put the visitors further ahead.
And matters quickly got even worse for the home side as on 19 minutes, Charlton raced through the Maidstone defence once again. This time Ahearne-Grant got past Stefan Kempton on the Stones’ right and whilst Godman stopped his initial shot, Ahearne-Grant reacted quickly to bundle the rebound into the net.
The visitors continued to look dangerous when venturing forwards. Kurtis Cumberbatch put a delightful ball into Ahearne-Grant but Godman was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger and then the same striker beat the offside trap only for his shot towards the near post to be turned behind for a corner.
In between, Akrofi had robbed Harry Lennon of the ball but he was unable to beat Dillon Phillips in the Charlton goal. And two minutes before the break, the Addicks should have added a fourth. A straight ball downfield caught the Maidstone defence out but Kennedy’s attempted finished was too casual and Godman was easily able to clean up.
Maidstone were then given a brief glimmer of hope with the interval seconds away though. A long throw from debutant George Porter went across the area and it fell to Greenhalgh who finished the chance well.
But any hopes the Stones had of an unlikely come back were finished off by two goals either side of the hour mark. Jamie Coyle was adjudged to have committed a foul about 25 yards from goal and Ollie Muldoon, who has a reputation as a set piece specialist, lashed in a good finish from the resultant free-kick.
Then once again it was Ahearne-Grant’s turn to shine. This time he went on a run down the left and he went past substitute Will Thomas with ease before he steered a fine finish past Godman.
There after there was only one further opportunity for the visitors. Muldoon crossed from the right and Ahearne-Grant steered his volley from close range just over the bar.
Maidstone United: Ben Greenhalgh 44
Charlton Athletic: Karlan Ahearne-Grant 15, 19, 62, Harry Gerard 17, Ollie Muldoon 59
Maidstone United: Will Godmon, Stefan Kempton (Will Thomas 59), Matt Rose, Jamie Coyle, Alfie Kitt, Alex Brown, Freddy Hansen (James Sutherland 45), Bradley Jordan, Alex Akrofi, Ben Greenhalgh, George Porter (Liam King 70). Subs not used: Harris Rodgers, Sam Reed.
Charlton Athletic: Dillion Phillips, Levander Pike, Archie Edwards (Bill Dago 76), Ollie Muldoon, Harry Lennon, Terell Thomas, Kurtis Cumberbatch (Ezri Konsa 76), Harry Gerard, Karlan Ahearne-Grant, Zak Ansah, Mikhail Kennedy (Jordan Beeney 68). Subs not used: Kieran Monlouis, Josh Umerah.