Saturday 24 November // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 1,308 // Report by Helen Terrell
Maidstone’s mini unbeaten run was halted by Havant as the home side ran out 5-2 winners.
After a mediocre start, the opening goal came on 11 minutes. After two frantic blocks by the Stones defence, Alfie Rutherford’s shot took a deflection as it went in past Grant Smith.
A few minutes later the Stones had a chance to get back on level terms. Jake Cassidy played in Jack Powell but his touch saw the ball run wide.
Just before the half hour, Jonah Ayunga made a surging run and one-on-one with Smith, he forced the Stones keeper to make a great stop low to his right.
Smith was back involved minutes later. His clearance found Jack Paxman but his effort was straight at Ben Dudzinski.
The Stones found themselves down to 10 men 10 minutes before the break. After being spoken to by the referee minutes before, Elliott Romain was shown a straight red after an incident by the home dugout.
The referee consulted his assistant before sending Romain for an early bath.
While the Stones adjusted to going a man down, Havant pounced and doubled their lead through Ayunga, who turned in the box and fired past Smith.
Alfie Rutherford could have made it three after 40 minutes but his shot was high and into the car park.
Smith spared blushes in first half injury time by blocking Theo Lewis’ effort.
Lewis was involved again at the start of the second half – this time it was a header that went over.
Then came a great opportunity for Maidstone. Powell played in Turgott who rounded Dudzinski but in taking one too many steps gave the Hawks keeper chance to recover and clear.
Goal number three came on 52 minutes – after a brief spell of Stones pressure – Alex Bradley cutting inside and firing home from long range.
Within 10 minutes it was four. Rutherford planting a half volley in the back of the net.
With the game seemingly ebbing again, Harry Wheeler opted for a triple substitution on 67 minutes, with Powell, Swaine and Walton making way for Durojaiye, Muldoon and Tajbakhsh.
Ten minutes later came two goals in two minutes. Paxman with the first, a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area, followed seconds later by Turgott bursting through to claim his 11th league goal of the season.
Any hopes of a dramatic comeback were thwarted as Rutherford made a solo run to slot home his third of the afternoon with five minutes remaining.
Not a game that will live long in the memory and before the Stones look forward to next weekend’s FA Cup match against Oldham Athletic, there’s the little matter of Eastleigh at the Gallagher Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Havant & Waterlooville: Alfie Rutherford 11, 63, 85, Johan Ayunga 35, Alex Bradley 54
Maidstone United: Jack Paxman 77, Blair Turgott 78
Havant & Waterlooville: Ben Dudzinski, Dan Strugnell, Rory Williams, Brian Stock, Ryan Woodford, Theo Lewis, Johan Ayunga, Alfie Rutherford, Tyler Cornder, Alex Bradley, Djamel Leeflang. Subs: Nicke Kabamba, Bradley Tarbuck, Aaron Cosgrave, Josh Huggins, Ibra Sekajja
Maidstone United: Grant Smith, Alex Finney, Will De Havilland, Rob Swaine (Olu Durojaiye 65), George McLennan, Simon Walton (Aryan Tajbakhsh 65), Jack Powell (Ollie Muldoon 65), Jack Paxman, Blair Turgott, Elliott Romain, Jake Cassidy. Subs not used: Josh Strizovic, Michael Phillips