Maidstone secured their place in the next round of the Kent Invitational Youth Cup, as goals from Tom Barton and George Head sealed a 2-0 victory in a hard-fought win at the Gallagher.
In a cagey opening to the encounter, it was Maidstone that struck first. Ike Bignell, using his pace and strength to stride past the defender, slotting in a perfectly timed cross from the right-hand side, into the feet of Tom Barton in the middle, who had the job of tucking the ball away from 12 yards out.
Throughout the match Dover portrayed the attacking quality needed to beat a team like Maidstone but on too many occasions the final ball avoided them. However, midway through the first half, Dover’s number 11 made a darting run into the area but the Stones keeper made himself big, denying the striker and keeping his side in the lead.
Then, only a few short minutes later, Maidstone were awarded a penalty. Ken Charles took the spot kick, hammering it against the right post. Fortunately for Dover, he tucked the rebound away only for it to be ruled offside.
It was a relatively quiet second half, with both sides scrappy in possession. George Robinson caught the Dover keeper in no man’s land, taking the ball around him and with the goal gaping, tantalizingly struck wide of the post.
On the 75th minute the Stones found that illusive second goal. George Robinson chased down a loose ball to deliver a wonderful looping cross onto the head of George Head (pictured), who planted it in the bottom corner.
Dover were highly impressive from start to finish and when they had a flurry of chances in the dying embers of the game, ranging from the well struck ball, which was parried by Billie King, to the well worked shot that was easily collected. They will surely feel hard done by that they didn’t find the back of the net.
Maidstone will hope to continue this winning run as they face Welling at home in a cup match on Friday evening, while Dover return to league action on 10 December against Bredhurst Juniors.
Maidstone United goalscorers: Tom Barton 10, George Head 75
Maidstone United team: Billie King, Ollie Debnam, Jamie O’Connor, Beau Landau, Henry Buttayoee, Johnny Phillips, Ike Bignell, Matt Bell, Tom Barton, Ken Charles, Charlie Vass. Subs: George Head, Ollie Ferris, George Robinson, Colby Waite, Jamie Duckering