Maidstone United exited the FA Youth Cup last night after nearly pulling off a late comeback.
Croydon were three up going into the last ten minutes of the game but goals from Max Sutton and JJ Openibo made for a lively end to what had been a very competitive match.
The Stones started the game brightly but it was The Trams, who made it to the third round proper last season, who took the lead on the half hour mark. Appeals for handball in the lead up to the goal were dismissed by the referee.
After the break, Maidstone had opportunities to get back on level terms but it was the visitors who doubled their advantage on 65 minutes and looked to have put the game out of sight 12 minutes later.
A great effort from Max Sutton on 84 minutes looked to be the Stones’ consolation but when JJ Openibo added a second four minutes later a frantic end ensued. Despite a couple more decent chances, it was Croydon who returned home with a place in the next round against either Dulwich Hamlet or Folkestone Invicta.
Maidstone United under 18s begin their Isthmian Youth League campaign at home to Sutton Common Rovers next Tuesday.
1. Harley Earle
2. Tylar Sait
3. Harvey Roberts
4. Morgan Williamson
5. Max Sutton
6. Adam Potton
7. Joshua Strouts
8. Alfie Matthews
9. Jayden Flisher
10. Perri Iandolo
11. Bradley Ihionvien
12. Luke Tutt
13. Ryan Pattison
14. JJ Openibo (on for Joshua Strouts 64)
15. Fyn Rutherford (on for Jayden Flisher 46)
16. Oliver Lankshear (on for Alfie Matthews 79)
17. Alfie Giles
19. Josh Davidson
Max Sutton 84
JJ Openibo 88