Saturday 3 September // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2,550 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
The last time Maidstone United and Wrexham met back in the FA Cup in 2014, there were two divisions between the sides. But after successive promotions, the Stones now find themselves on an equal footing with the Red Dragons and there was little to choose between the two sides as they drew at the Gallagher Stadium.
It was one of the players who was in the squad for that FA Cup tie – Ben Greenhalgh – who gave the Stones the lead on 21 minutes. Alex Flisher was brought down close to the box by John Rooney and Greenhalgh stepped up to curl the resultant free-kick inside the near post.
It wasn’t until late on in the first half that Wrexham finally started to threaten as Maidstone were enjoying the greater share of possession until this stage. With 33 minutes gone, Rooney’s corner went straight to Hamza Bencherif whose thumping volley went just wide of the right hand post.
But just five minutes later, the visitors drew level. Anthony Barry put a ball forwards which Jack Evans accidentally headed straight to Callum Powell and Powell was allowed to roam across the edge of the box before picking his spot and firing a decent finish past the stranded Lee Worgan.
With the interval just minutes away, the Stones then had two opportunities to go in front once again. The first of these came when Greenhalgh’s corner was headed on by Jamie Coyle and then met by Kevin Lokko only for Shaun Harrad to get the ball away from the line. Then Lokko was involved again when he put a good pass into Bobby-Joe Taylor. Taylor timed his run so he only had Shwan Jalal to beat but the Wrexham keeper was smartly off his line and he made the block with his legs.
Maidstone looked slightly the brighter of the two sides early on after the break. With 56 minutes gone, a nice move involving Dan Sweeney ended with him slipping the ball to Greenhalgh who was out on the left. Greenhalgh sent a cross into the box which Flisher managed to get his head to but the ball dropped just wide.
Then, just as in the first half, Wrexham started to carve out chances of their own. The Red Dragons went close when they were awarded a corner out on their left which Rooney took and his cross came back off the bar. But with 66 minutes gone they edged in front. Kai Edwards put the ball down the left to Paul Rutherford who put over a cross. Rooney went to meet it but he couldn’t get a shot away and it came to Powell who picked his spot and sent another fine finish past Worgan.
Substitute Michael Bakare then almost caught Worgan out with a quick shot after he latched onto a long ball forwards but the Maidstone keeper made the stop with his feet. Play then quickly swung to the other end and a mistake from Curtis Tilt let in substitute Liam Enver-Marum who scored just six minutes into his debut to rescue a point for the Stones.
Maidstone United: Ben Greenhalgh 21, Liam Enver-Marum 77
Wrexham: Callum Powell 38, 66
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 12. Jack Evans (22. Reece Hall – Johnson 79) 4. Jamie Coyle, 5. Kevin Lokko, 3. Tom Mills, 14. Tom Murphy (25. Nathan Mavila 67), 8. Dan Sweeney, 10. Jack Paxman, 16. Bobby-Joe Taylor, 17. Ben Greenhalgh (24. Liam Enver-Marum 71), 11. Alex Flisher. Subs not used: 6. James Rogers, 18. Jack Richards.
Wrexham: 1. Shwan Jalal, 13. Mark Carrington, 4. Hamza Bencherif, 6. Curtis Tilt, 11. Sean Newton, 12. Kai Edwards, 7. Anthony Barry (23. Nortei Nortey 45), 10. John Rooney, 14. Paul Rutherford, 17. Callum Powell, 18. Shaun Harrard (34. Michael Bakare 58). Subs not used: 5. Martin Riley, 20, Gerry McDonagh, 29. Tyler Harvey.
Who was your man of the match against Wrexham?
- Dan Sweeney (47%, 121 Votes)
- Alex Flisher (9%, 23 Votes)
- Ben Greenhalgh (7%, 19 Votes)
- Bobby-Joe Taylor (7%, 17 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (6%, 15 Votes)
- Kevin Lokko (6%, 15 Votes)
- Nathan Mavila (5%, 12 Votes)
- Liam Enver-Marum (4%, 10 Votes)
- Tom Mills (3%, 8 Votes)
- Jamie Coyle (3%, 7 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (2%, 6 Votes)
- Reece Hall-Johnson (1%, 3 Votes)
- Jack Evans (1%, 2 Votes)
- Tom Murphy (0%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 259