Vanarama National League // Saturday 11 August // Attendance 1,534 (127 from Maidstone) // Report by Helen Terrell
The Stones unbeaten start to the season was well and truly halted at Halifax.
Jay Saunders made two changes from the side that beat Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday – bringing in Jordan Wynter and Shamir Mullings for Jack Paxman and Joe Quigley – in a bid to combat the home side’s physical presence.
Halifax, who’d won their opening two games, started brightly and with five minutes gone Dayle Southwell found himself in space but put his header wide.
Minutes later Michael Duckworth thread the ball to Jonathan Edwards whose effort was off-target.
With 21 minutes gone, the Stones put together a flowing move down the right involving Seth Twumasi, Stuart Lewis and Jamar Loza. Ollie Muldoon tried to get on to Loza’s cross but the ball was blocked.
Play immediately switched to the other end, with Edwards heading past Worgan but before he did the offside flag had already been raised.
Just before the half hour mark, some neat hold up play from Shamir Mullings allowed Blair Turgott to race into the penalty area but his effort was blasted over the crossbar.
That heralded a good spell for the Stones with chances for Turgott and Loza – unfortunately neither able to convert chances.
The home side upped their momentum and took the lead five minutes before the break through Cameron King – a cruel deflection leaving Worgan stranded.
The opening two fixtures saw a stronger second half performance from the Stones but any hopes of a repeat were dashed six minutes in, when Ben Tomlinson doubled the Shaymen’s lead.
After his initial effort was parried, he was quickest to react and fired home the rebound.
Minutes later Edwards had the chance to add a third after the Stones failed to deal with a routine cross.
Quarter of an hour into the second half and Saunders made a double substitution – bringing on Andre Coker and Jack Paxman for Jamar Loza and Ollie Muldoon.
The third and final substitution came soon after. Alex Finney picked up a knock and was replaced by Joe Quigley – Jordan Wynter dropping back into central defence.
Just as Wynter was adjusting to his new position, he was adjudged to have fouled in the penalty area. Spot kick awarded and up stepped Southwell to confidently dispatch goal number three.
The Stones went on to have a few half chances – Lewis clearing the crossbar from 25-yards, Quigley caught by the offside trap and a Twumasi cross that was comfortably collected by Sam Johnson in the Halifax goal.
The Shay faithful were on their feet minutes before the end to celebrate what they thought was the fourth but this time it was only the side netting.
One to forget for the team and the 127 who made the 500-mile round trip. We go again on Tuesday when Justin Edinburgh’s Leyton Orient pitch up at the Gallagher.
FC Halifax Town: Cameron King 40, Ben Tomlinson 51, Dayle Southwell 70 (penalty)
Maidstone United: –
Maidstone United team: Lee Worgan, Seth Nana Twumasi, Will De Havilland, Alex Finney (Joe Quigley 65), George McLennan, Jordan Wynter, Ollie Muldoon (Jack Paxman 60), Stuart Lewis, Blair Turgott, Jamar Loza (Andre Coker 60), Shamir Mullings. Subs not used: Michee Efere, Michael Phillips