Saturday 4 April // Ryman League Premier Division // Attendance: 759// Report by Ruth Tunnell
As the old cliché goes, what a difference a week makes in football.
Last Saturday the Stones’ hopes of winning the Ryman Premier Division appeared to be increasing after a fantastic win over Margate. But just seven days later, the destiny of the championship is now in Hendon’s hands after the Greens took full advantage of the chances that came their way to beat Maidstone.
Few in the ground would have foreseen this result during the opening moments of the first half during which time Maidstone looked the better of the two sides. And it was the Stones who had a good opportunity to take the lead with just three minutes on the clock. Matt Bodkin did well down the right hand side and his low ball into the box was left by Frannie Collin so it came to George Porter. Unfortunately though, Porter leaned back as he hit the ball and it sailed well over the bar.
But with just 15 minutes on the clock, Maidstone were to have more luck in front of goal. Porter found Jack Parkinson who spread an excellent pass out to Bodkin on the right. Once again, Collin appeared to leave Bodkin’s low cross and this time, Jay May swept home a neat finish.
The Stones were looking the stronger of the two sides and they nearly extended their lead just past the mid way point of the first half. A corner from Frannie Collin was met by Jack Parkinson and his header was going in until it was cleared off the line by Oliver Sprague.
Not long after this, Bodkin crossed from the right and May’s header went over the bar but then just three minutes from the interval, the home side, who had barely threatened during the first half, equalised. Steve Watt was adjudged to have fouled Aaron Morgan as he charged towards goal and from just outside the box, Andre Da Costa curled the resultant free-kick in off the left hand post.
Then with the game in first half stoppage time, Da Costa was involved again. Once more, Morgan won a free-kick on the edge of the box and Da Costa’s effort appeared to be going just wide but Lee Worgan made sure it did by conceding a corner.
Two minutes before the break, Bodkin saw a left footed effort go just wide of the left hand post before the game swung in Hendon’s direction on 52 minutes. A long ball forward split the Maidstone defence open leaving Kezie Ibe running towards goal and Tom Mills’ attempt at a last ditch tackle resulted in Mills receiving a red card. Sam Murphy stepped up to take the penalty and he comfortably despatched it into the left hand side of the net.
Collin tried to respond quickly for the Stones but his shot on the turn went straight at Ben McNamara. Then just past the hour, substitute Alex Brown crossed for May who saw his header hacked away from close to goal.
By now the home side had settled into their rhythm and on 69 minutes, they had a great chance to pull further head. Substitute James Fisher picked out Casey Maclaren who was in space close to the right hand post and he didn’t appear to realise just how much time he had before putting the ball wide.
Then with just six minutes remaining, the Stones should have rescued a point. A free-kick from substitute Ben Greenhalgh was flicked on by another substitute Billy Bricknell and the ball dropped to May who was in a central position inside the box and he smashed the chance over the bar.
Hendon: Andre Da Costa 42, Sam Murphy 52 (pen)
Maidstone United: Jay May 15
Hendon: Ben McNamara, Dave Diedhiou (James Fisher 45), Oliver Sprague, Charlie Goode, Elliott Brathwaite, Casey Maclaren, Sam Murphy, Lee O’Leary, Aaron Morgan (Peter Dean 90), Kezie Ibe (Leon Smith 86), Andre Da Costa. Subs not used: Sam Flegg, Max McCann,
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Craig Stone, Tom Mills, Steve Watt, Shane Huke, James Rogers, Matt Bodkin (Ben Greenhalgh 74), Jack Parkinson, Jay May, Frannie Collin (Billy Bricknell 71), George Porter (Alex Brown 56). Subs not used: Sonny Miles, Will Godman.