Tuesday 8 August // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2,519 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s return to the scene of one of their greatest afternoons proved to be an unhappy experience for the Stones as they were beaten by Ebbsfleet at Stonebridge Road.
This result didn’t look like it was on the cards for about an hour of this match though and in fact, it was the Stones who enjoyed the best of the chances until this point with the home side having goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore to thank for keeping the scores level. But a mistake from Seth Nana-Twumasi led to the eye catching Luke Coulson giving the Fleet the lead and after that, Ebbsfleet took control of the remainder of the match.
It took just two minutes for Ashmore to make his first save of the evening. Delano Sam-Yorke was pushed over 25 yards from goal and Joe Pigott took the resultant free-kick but he was denied by a finger tipped save from Ashmore.
The Fleet’s first opportunity came not long after this. Danny Kedwell was left in space not far from the box and after bringing the ball under control, he drove his shot well wide.
Kedwell then played the ball out to Luke Coulson on the right. His cross dropped down to Jack Powell and his rising effort deflected past the post. Then another Coulson cross came in from the same flank and this time the excellent Alex Finney stuck a foot out to send it looping over the bar.
Finney continued to stand out in the first half and on 29 minutes, Darren McQueen put Coulson in down the right hand side of the box. Just as Coulson threatened to shoot, Finney stepped across and expertly timed his challenge concede a corner.
But the closest either side came to scoring before the break came when Pigott flicked the ball into the path of Stuart Lewis. Lewis advanced forwards before unleashing a powerful drive which seemed destined for the net until Ashmore intervened with a fine save to deflect the ball over the bar.
Ashmore rescued the Fleet once again early in the second half. Nana-Twumasi delivered a deep cross from the right which was met by the jumping Wraight and Ashmore did well to get down and claw the ball away from close to his right hand post.
But as the second half progressed, the home side started to look more threatening and on 66 minutes, they went in front. Coulson dispossessed Nana-Twumasi and on the left and with Lee Worgan drawn away from his goal, Coulson looked up and lashed a decent finish past the diving Maidstone keeper.
The Stones soon suffered a blow as Finney, who had been outstanding, had to come off due to injury. And on 77 minutes, Ebbsfleet opened the Maidstone defence up as Jack Powell squared the ball to Kedwell and he riffled the ball past Worgan.
Then with the game in stoppage time, Maidstone’s miserable evening was compounded. After a lengthy break due to an injury to Dave Winfield, play resumed and Stuart Lewis caught Andy Drury with a challenge that the referee, Mr Hair, deemed worthy of a red card.
As there ended up being eight minutes added on at the end of the match, there was still time for Ebbsfleet to go close to adding some gloss to the scoreline. First of all, substitute Aaron McLean drew a good save from Worgan and then Drury attempted to lob Worgan from inside the centre circle but the ball went inches over the bar.
Ebbsfleet United: Luke Coulson 66, Danny Kedwell 77
Maidstone United: –
Ebbsfleet United: 1. Nathan Ashmore, 5. Dave Winfield (17. Sean Shields 90), 6. Kenny Clark, 7. Jack Powell, 8. Andy Dury, 9. Danny Kedwell, 11. Myles Weston (2. Marvin McCoy 61), 14. Darren McQueen (10. Aaron McLean 80), 16. Jack Payne, 24. Sam Magri, 25. Luke Coulson. Subs not used: 13. Jonathan Miles, 19. Danny Mills
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 16. Seth Nana-Twumasi, 2. Josh Hare, 3. Alex Finney (5. Alex Wynter 76), 13. Joe Anderson, 8. Stuart Lewis, 4. Reece Prestedge, 14. Jai Reason (10. Jack Paxman 71), 9. Delano Sam-Yorke, 32. Joe Pigott, 11. Tom Wraight (17. Harley Willard 74). Subs not used: 21. Harry Phipps 23. Jack Richards.
Who was your man of the match against Ebbsfleet United?
- Alex Finney (75%, 61 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (6%, 5 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (5%, 4 Votes)
- Josh Hare (4%, 3 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (4%, 3 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (2%, 2 Votes)
- Joe Pigott (2%, 2 Votes)
- Alex Wynter (1%, 1 Votes)
- Jai Reason (0%, 0 Votes)
- Seth Nana Twumasi (0%, 0 Votes)
- Tom Wraight (0%, 0 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (0%, 0 Votes)
- Harley Willard (0%, 0 Votes)
- Joe Anderson (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 81