Saturday 21 April 2018 // National League // Attendance: 1,728 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United can look forward to next season in the National League after they registered their first away victory in the league since 8 November against already relegated Chester FC.
The home side created a number of opportunities early on. With just for minutes gone, James Akintunde beat the offside trap to find himself chasing a long ball forward. He was a couple of yards ahead of Alex Finney but Finney did well to get in a position to make a decent tackle in the box and although the ball went back to Akintunde, he wasn’t able to keep it in play.
Seconds after this Craig Mahon got the Maidstone defence turning with another long ball forward. Once again, Akintunde found himself in a good position inside the area and he tried to curl the ball past Lee Worgan but Worgan was able to make a comfortable catch.
Cain Noble then put the ball in the net with a side footed effort but he was adjudged to have been in an offside position. And Chester kept pushing as Nathan Brown sent a free-kick into the box and Ryan Astles’ header dropped onto the roof of the net.
But as the half went on, Maidstone started to come into the game more and on 18 minutes, Blair Turgott was tripped by James Jones as he skipped into the box off the left wing. Turgott picked himself up to take the resultant penalty and he just squeezed it past the outstretched right hand of Andy Firth in the Chester goal.
Ten minutes later Turgott took a free-kick close to the touchline and just outside the box after Andre Coker was fouled. Turgott lifted the ball towards the back post where Josh Hare rose up to head the ball goalwards only for Firth to claw the ball away from the line. Jamar Loza kept the move alive with a backheel which Alex Wynter stretched to reach and in the process, Wynter was ruled to have caught Firth for which he was booked.
Then on 32 minutes a mistake at the back from the Blues proved costly. Firth was trying to play the ball out of his area only for Michael Phillips to arrive and capitalise on a loose pass. Phillips kept his balance and rounded Firth before dispatching a neat finish into the net.
But the Stones were to suffer a blow not long before half time. Having already been booked, Wynter lunged to try and tackle Tom Crawford and unfortunately caught the Chester player. The referee, Mr Dicicco, had no hesitation in reaching for a second yellow card before sending Wynter off.
Jay Saunders reacted by replacing Jamar Loza with the more defensively minded Reece Prestedge at half time and although Chester had improved, Maidstone were largely keeping them at bay. The Blues then went close through a header from Akintunde which Worgan tipped over but then a mistake from the Stones, gave Chester a lifeline. Joe Anderson accidentally gave the ball to Craig Mahon who whipped in a cross and 17 year old Cain Noble, making his Blues debut, headed the ball into the net.
The Stones didn’t panic though and they ensured that the home side didn’t really threaten again before Maidstone made certain of the victory 16 minutes from time. Astles should have cleared his lines for the home side but was being hassled by Phillips and Astles stopped, thinking he was about to be awarded a free-kick. None was forthcoming though and Phillips squared the ball to the arriving Josh Hare who struck a lovely low drive from about 25 yards out which Firth got a touch to, but he couldn’t stop the ball hitting his left post before flying in.
Chester FC: Cain Noble 57
Maidstone United: Blair Turgott 18 (pen), Michael Phillips 32, Josh Hare 74
Chester FC: 1. Andy Firth, 2. Andy Halls (24. Rhain Hellawell 79), 6. Ryan Astles, 7. Craig Mahon, 18. James Jones, 20. James Akintunde (30. Jordan Archer 70), 21. Cain Noble. 22. Tom Crawford, 23. Nathan Brown, 31. Jordan Gough, 32. Matthew Thomson. Subs not used: 8. Karl Cunningham, 9. Harry White, 35. Myles Anderson.
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 16. Seth Nana Twumasi, 2. Josh Hare, 3. Alex Finney, 13. Joe Anderson, 5. Alex Wynter, 37. Michael Phillips (14. Jai Reason 84), 8. Stuart Lewis, 7. Jamar Loza (4. Reece Prestedge 45), 35. Andre Coker (11. Tom Wraight 58), 19. Blair Turgott. Subs not used: 10. Jack Paxman, 23. Jack Richards.
Who was your man of the match against Chester?
- Michael Phillips (37%, 51 Votes)
- Blair Turgott (19%, 26 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (18%, 24 Votes)
- Josh Hare (7%, 10 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (3%, 4 Votes)
- Andre Coker (3%, 4 Votes)
- Seth Nana Twumasi (3%, 4 Votes)
- Alex Finney (3%, 4 Votes)
- Alex Wynter (2%, 3 Votes)
- Jai Reason (2%, 3 Votes)
- Jamar Loza (1%, 2 Votes)
- Joe Anderson (1%, 1 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (1%, 1 Votes)
- Tom Wraight (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 137