Tuesday 8 March // Vanarama National League South // Attendance: 225 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United have moved up to second place in the National League South and at the same time, have cut Ebbsfleet’s lead to ten points after the Stones came from behind to beat Oxford City.
The Stones have three games in hand over the leaders and are now 13 points ahead of Dartford who occupy the first place outside of the play offs.
With Charles Banya absent having suffered concussion in the win over Basingstoke Town, manager Jay Sauners made just one change with Alex Flisher coming in for Banya. And Flisher was involved early on as the Stones started the more brightly of the two sides. With just four minutes gone, a decent effort from Flisher from outside the area went past the left hand post. Then with the game still in its early stages, Flisher had another opportunity when this time he got on the end of Vas Karagiannis’ free-kick only for his shot on the turn to flash wide.
A strong run from Dumebi Dumaka ended with the Maidstone striker firing well over from close of the edge of the box before the Stones went nearly opened the scoring. A free-kick from Karagiannis was headed out for a corner by Lee Henderson and it was Karagiannis who took the corner which reached the unmarked Joe Healy and his header into the ground bounced inches over the bar.
However, with half an hour gone, Oxford City went in front against the run of play. Kynan Issac put a low cross in from the left and it was fired into right hand side of the net by Bradley Bubb.
Four minutes before the break though, the Stones could have pulled level. A long kick downfield from Lee Worgan ended up leaving Jack Paxman with Laurie Walker to beat but the Oxford keeper stood his ground and as Paxman shaped to try and put the ball past him, Walker made the save.
However, Maidstone did go into the break level. With the game in first half stoppage time, Flisher hurled a trademark throw which the Oxford defence allowed to go all the way across the box to Callum Davies whose header sailed into the net.
Not long after the interval, the Stones had Callum Driver to thank for getting the ball away from the line after Bubb had put a low cross in from the right and then Maidstone scored twice inside four minutes to take control of the game. The first goal came when Karagiannis’ corner came out to Joe Healy who was on the right hand side of the box. Healy tried to float a cross back into the six yard box which didn’t look threatening until Walker came off his line and accidentally punched it into his own net.
Moments later, Flisher went on a run down the left. His cross went across the area where it was picked up by Karagiannis and the Maidstone winger whipped in a super ball which picked out Flisher and the Stones’ player showed perfect technique to head the ball past Walker.
As the game entered its later stages, Bubb hit the inside the post with a low shot and the remaining moments were a bad tempered affair. The incident which seemed to spark this all off came when Lee Henderson caught Healy with a dangerous tackle. Henderson was surprisingly only booked for the challenge which left Maidstone playing with ten men after Healy had to limp off with a lower leg injury.
With the Stones reduced in numbers, Oxford pushed forwards and Worgan had to made a good diving save to deny Marlon Jackson. But the Maidstone keeper could do nothing to prevent Issac from finding Bubb who swept in his second goal of the evening.
However, Bubb’s match wasn’t to end well. After the Oxford striker had been booked following a slight scuffle prior to a Maidstone free-kick, Bubb then managed to get himself a second yellow card following another incident over towards the visitor’s dugout. With the various off the ball issues, the Stones ended up having to endure eight minutes of stoppage time but they held on to record another good away victory.
Oxford City: Bradley Bubb 30, 90
Maidstone United: Callum Davies 45, Laurie Walker (O.G.) 63, Alex Flisher 67
Oxford City: Laurie Walker, Matt Bevans (Connor McDonagh 72), Paul Stonehouse, Jose Lapoujade (Dave King 79), Lee Henderson, Jon Arzumendi, Marlon Jackson, Darren Pond, Bradley Bubb, Matt Whichelow (Kaylem Patterson 62), Kynan Issac. Subs not used: Carlos Piffare, Dave, Julen Lafuente.
Maidstone United: Lee Worgan, Callum Driver, Tom Mills, Callum Davies, Manny Parry, James Rogers, Alex Flisher (Bobby-Joe Taylor 82), Joe Healy, Dumebi Dumaka, Jack Paxman (Dan Sweeney 71), Vas Karagiannis (Jay May 82). Subs not used: Alex Akrofi, Ben Bridle-Card.
Who was your man of the match against Oxford City?
- Alex Flisher (43%, 49 Votes)
- Callum Davies (10%, 11 Votes)
- Dumebi Dumaka (9%, 10 Votes)
- Callum Driver (8%, 9 Votes)
- Vas Karagiannis (8%, 9 Votes)
- James Rogers (6%, 7 Votes)
- Joe Healy (5%, 6 Votes)
- Tom Mills (3%, 3 Votes)
- Jay May (2%, 2 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (2%, 2 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (2%, 2 Votes)
- Manny Parry (2%, 2 Votes)
- Bobby-Joe Taylor (1%, 1 Votes)
- Dan Sweeney (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 113