Saturday 28 February // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 2,035 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
For the first time in four matches, Maidstone registered a win as they got their league title hopes back on track with a comfortable victory over Billericay Town.
There was to be no nervy end to the game for the Stones this week after Matt Bodkin came off the substitute bench to put Maidstone two nil ahead to make sure the home side were more assured going into the final moments. And there was even time for the Stoness to add some gloss to the scoreline as Jay May added a third in stoppage time.
Chances were few and far between in the first half. On 14 minutes, Jay May knocked the ball down for Frannie Collin and he hit a rising drive which was at a decent height for Joe Wright who pushed the ball away from goal.
It was Collin who was to threaten again for the Stones some time later. Once again May was involved as won a header for Collin whose shot from 25 yards flew over the bar.
Ten minutes before half time, Jack Parkinson brought down Glen Poole about 20 yards from goal. Ricky Sappleton stepped up to take the free-kick but he could only curl his effort into the Town End behind Lee Worgan’s goal.
After the break, Maidstone had an early appeal for a penalty waived away. Collin blasted the ball goalwards and Stevie Sheehan appeared to commit a hand ball offence as he got the ball behind for a corner.
But it wasn’t long until the Stones then edged in front. Some good play saw Jack Parkinson put the ball forwards which Billy Bricknell flicked into the path of Collin who entered the box and smashed a fine finish past the Wright.
Five minutes later, Bricknell had a very similar opportunity as he found himself bearing down on Wright but he hit the ball straight at the Billericay keeper. This could have proved costly as shortly afterwards Jack Edward’s shot deflected off Steve Watt and Lee Worgan had to make a smart save to push the ball over the bar.
Tom Mills then went on a surging run for the Stones which took him all the way into the Billericay area. Mills’ effort was on target but Wright stuck out a leg and stopped his shot.
The Blues were offering little going forwards and with five minutes remaining Maidstone wrapped the game up. Jay May did well down the left and gave the ball to George Porter. Porter exchanged a one two with Frannie Collin before Porter picked out Bodkin who took a touch and nearly placed his shot inside the right hand post.
Then deep in stoppage time, the Stones further improved their goal difference. Once again Collin was instrumental as his Wright could only parry his attempted lob and then substitute Ben Greenhalgh played the ball back out to the Maidstone striker. Collin wasn’t to be rushed and he carefully crossed for May who nodded the ball past Wright to round off a decent afternoon for the Stones.
Maidstone United: Frannie Collin 56, Matt Bodkin 85, Jay May 90
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Craig Stone, Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Shane Huke, James Rogers (Alex Brown 69), Billy Bricknell (Matt Bodkin 82), Jack Parkinson, Jay May, Frannie Collin, George Porter (Ben Greenhalgh 86). Subs not used: Jamie Coyle, Will Godmon.
Billericay Town: Joe Wright, Ola Williams, Teddy Nesbitt, Jack Edwards, Richard Halle, Stevie Sheehan, Harry Baker (Rowan Liburd 70), Glenn Poole, Ricky Stapleton, Liam Nash (Afolabi Obafemi 57), Callum Dunne (Josh Ekim 70). Subs not used: Cyrus Mahler, Ryan Melaugh