Monday 2 January // Ryman Youth League East // Attendance: 54 // Report by Josh Bailey
In a class performance, Maidstone United cruised to their eighth win of the season as four goals from Sidney Warden saw the Stones demolish Raynes Park Vale 9-0 at the Gallagher Stadium.
After a quiet opening five minutes, Ben Fitchett scored the first of many as a powerful run, finished with a low driving shot into the bottom left hand corner put the Stones ahead.
Only a few minutes later Maidstone nearly had another. Park Vale keeper Ali Kellali, who had a night to forget, spilled Sidney Warden’s effort but was able to scramble the ball off the line.
However, Maidstone finally got what they deserved. A beautifully struck free kick by Warden bent up and over the wall, spinning into the top right hand corner and leaving the opposition watching in disbelief.
Just before the break the Stones made it three. An appalling attempt of a save by the goalkeeper meant that Max Borland’s rocket of a shot found the back of the net to all but seal the game.
That said, an attempt of a back pass by Stones defender Tom Lindsey nearly gave Raynes Park Vale an opportunity to get back into the game but some excellent defending by Tyler Dockwray blocked the resulting effort to keep the score at 3-0 at the break.
It wasn’t long after the restart that another mistake by opposing goalkeeper led to Maidstone’s fourth of night. Warden turned the defender, shot across the face of the goal, with the ball slipping through the hands of the keeper.
A minute later a great ball by Lucas Murrain found the feet of Sidney Warden who once again calmly slotted away to make it 5-0 and complete his hat-trick.
Three goals in four minutes saw the Stones double their lead from half time. Warden breached the line of the defence, putting the ball past the opposing goalkeeper for the fourth time.
Raynes Park Vale rarely threatened Tommy Taylor in the Maidstone goal but on the rare occasion they did it was their number 7 at the heart of the action.
Despite the quick feet of the Raynes Park Vale’s number 7, Maidstone were still able to find the back of the net for the seventh time on a bitterly cold night. Malachi Medley’s lofty throw in found Josh Stirman who was unmarked, side footing it home from five yards out.
A marvellous one two between Stirman and Medley enabled the right back to find himself some space to muster a shot and beat the keeper at his near post.
A long day at the office for Raynes Park Vale was made even longer. A quiet Lucas Murrain was able to get amongst the goals as a lofted effort was tamely punched away by the disheartened keeper only for it to contribute to the chip creeping over the line.
The whitewash of a result means that Maidstone head into their last home game of the season against Tonbridge Angels nine points clear at the top Ryman Youth League East. Raynes Park Vale are left floundering eighth in the league, two points off the bottom.