Tuesday 28 February // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 1,456 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
The Stones’ battle against relegation continues to go from strength to strength after a fantastic and hard working performance against title challengers Dagenham and Redbridge was rewarded with a victory which stretches Maidstone’s unbeaten run to four matches.
This was arguably the Stones’ finest display of the season and they got their evening off to the perfect start. Right from the outset they pushed the Daggers back and on six minutes, Joe Pigott received the ball with his back to goal close to the edge of the box. Pigott took a touch before spinning and hitting a stunning rising shot which flew into the roof of the net past the stranded Mark Cousins.
The home side tried to come back promptly at the Stones and Maidstone had to be at their best defensively as Dagenham looked to move the ball forwards quickly at every opportunity. On 16 minutes, striker Oliver Hawkins finally looked to have got in as he held off Kevin Lokko but he was forced wide and he saw his low shot go all the way across the face of goal. And not long after this, Reece Prestedge did well to block Jake Sheppard’s effort which had gone through a crowd.
A defensive mix up for the Daggers then nearly proved costly. Cousins got drawn from his goal and the ball came to Pigott who tried to curl the ball past the Dagenham keeper only for Scott Doe to make an important clearance and when the cross came back in, Pigott saw his header go wide.
Ten minutes before the break, Dagenham were awarded a corner. Jordan Maguire-Drew put the ball into the box from out on the right and Doe’s glancing header looked to be going in until Lee Worgan made an excellent save to push it away from close to his left hand post.
Doe was then involved again when he got in down the right side of the box. The box was quite crowded with players though and Doe elected for a shot which dropped not far wide of the far post.
The interval didn’t take the edge off the pace of the game and Maidstone threatened to get in during the early stages of the second half. Cousins couldn’t fully clear his lines and Pigott volleyed the ball forward into the path of Jamar Loza. Loza got into the area but his shot was well stopped by Shaun Donnellan.
Then not long past the hour, Dagenham once again couldn’t get the ball properly clear. This time the ball fell to Reece Prestedge and he hit a fierce effort which Cousins beat away from goal.
Maidstone then thought they had scored with 69 minutes on the clock. Cousins appeared to strike the lurking Pigott in the back with a goal kick. Both Cousins and Pigott seemed to initially hesitate as the ball span back into the area and Pigott then brought it under control before rounding Cousins and guiding the ball into the unguarded net. Pigott set off to celebrate with the noisy travelling support behind the goal and Cousins was booked for his complaints. But then, with everyone expecting the game to kick back off, the referee, Mr Aliison, went to consult with his linesman and after lengthy discussions, the goal was disallowed.
This could have been a turning moment in the game and soon afterwards, Dagenham went close. Fejiri Okenabirthie crossed from the left and Jordan Maguire-Drew only just cleared the bar with a header.
Substitute Bobby-Joe Taylor then didn’t miss by much with a free-kick from 20 yards after Jack Paxman was brought down before the Stones were reduced to ten men after the industrious Stuart Lewis saw red for a second bookable offence. But despite this, the Stones made sure of the win with five minutes remaining. A goal kick from Worgan was brought down by Pigott into the path of Sam-Yorke who charged through the Dagenham defence and with three players in close attendance, he sent a low finish under Cousins.
Maidstone then saw out the remaining moments with relative ease apart from a brief scare three minutes into stoppage time. Okenabirthie received the ball on the edge of the area and he hit a rising drive which struck the bar and went away to safety.
Dagenham and Redbridge: –
Maidstone United: Joe Pigott 6, Delano Sam-Yorke 85
Dagenham and Redbridge: 30. Mark Cousins, 3. Joe Widdowson, 4. Scott Doe, 5. Craig Robson (19. Sam Ling 71), 8. Frankie Raymond, 11. Fejiri Okenabirthie, 12. Oliver Hawkins, 15. Jordan Maguire-Drew (26. Ray Grant 82), 17. Andre Boucaud, 27. Shaun Donnellan, 28. Jake Sheppard (32. Josh Staunton 45). Subs not used: 1. Elliot Justham, 14. Paul Benson,
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 22. Seth-Nana Twuamasi, 5. Kevin Lokko, 4. Jamie Coyle, 3. Tom Mills, 10. Jack Paxman (20. Jake McCarthy 87), 14. Reece Prestedge, 8. Stuart Lewis, 25. Jamar Loza (16. Bobby-Joe Taylor 65), 32. Joe Pigott (23. Yemi Odubade 90), 9. Delano Sam-Yorke. Subs not used: 24. Magnus Okuonghae, 21. Harry Phipps.
Who was your man of the match against Dagenham & Redbridge?
- Joe Pigott (36%, 66 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (22%, 39 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (13%, 23 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (11%, 20 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (8%, 15 Votes)
- Jamie Coyle (3%, 5 Votes)
- Kevin Lokko (3%, 5 Votes)
- Seth-Nana Twumasi (1%, 2 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (1%, 2 Votes)
- Tom Mills (1%, 2 Votes)
- Jamar Loza (1%, 1 Votes)
- Jake McCarthy (1%, 1 Votes)
- Bobby-Joe Taylor (0%, 0 Votes)
- Yemi Odubade (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 181