Thursday 28 July // Pre-season Friendly // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a straightforward win over Ryman One South rivals Faversham Town. As the Stones don’t have a match on Saturday, Jay Saunders fielded a strong starting 11 as he looks to make some final decisions regarding who will line up against York City a week on Saturday.
With Lee Worgan rested as a precaution after falling awkwardly whilst making a save against Leatherhead on Tuesday, Ben Bridle-Card was selected in goal and he made the first save of the evening. With four minutes gone, Kieran Campbell got a low shot away which looked to be heading in until Bridle-Card pushed the ball away from goal.
The Stones then did have the ball in the net following a decent move initiated by Tom Murphy. However, Dumebi Dumaka was ruled to be in an offside position as he finished off a Bobby-Joe Taylor cross.
As the half wore on, Taylor became more influential for Maidstone. On 27 minutes, he sent a low ball into the box which Dan Sweeney deftly flicked towards goal but Will Godman turned the ball behind for a corner. Taylor then picked out Murphy whose shot dropped just over the bar and but on the half an hour mark, the deadlock was broken. Once again, Taylor was involved as this time he put a cross into the box which Sweeney rose to meet and he headed the ball into the back of the net.
Just four minutes later, the Stones pulled further ahead. A free-kick close to the edge of the box from Ben Greenhalgh deflected off the wall and hit the bar before the ball broke back out. It eventually got turned back into the box by Murphy and Greenhalgh arrived to score from close range.
With the interval looming, Murphy put a good delivery into the box which Sweeney headed towards goal and Godman did well to tip the ball over the bar. Then from the resultant corner, an on target volley from Murphy was also saved by Godman.
Not long after the break Maidstone were presented with a chance to increase their lead. Dumaka was brought down in the box by Godman and the Stones were awarded a penalty. Greenhalgh stepped up to take the spot kick but Godman guessed which way the ball was going and made a decent save.
Just after this there was a moment of concern for the Stones with the new season so close now. New signing Kevin Lokko went down and seemed to be in some discomfort before he had to be helped from the pitch and replaced by Jack Evans. Fortunately for the Stones, Lokko said after the match that he thought he had just taken a knock to his ankle and the injury wasn’t as bad as initially feared.
It wasn’t until the 73rd minute that Faversham came close to pulling a goal back. Former Maidstone player Charley Robertson gained possession about 25 yards from goal and took a couple of steps before unleashing a fierce shot which would have gone inside the left hand post if it had not been for Bridle-Card getting a hand to the ball.
Substitute Vas Karagiannis then raced down the right hand side. His run took him into a good position inside the box but with the goal looming, he shot well wide. Meanwhile at the other end, former Stones midfielder Sam Bewick, who was on as a sub for the Lilywhites, cut inside Tom Mills and hit a low shot but once again, Bridle-Card made a smart stop.
Then with the game in stoppage time, Maidstone wrapped up the scoring. Murphy went down the left hand side and crossed for Dumaka who had the simple task of knocking the ball past Godman.
Faversham Town: –
Maidstone United: Dan Sweeney 30, Ben Greenhalgh 34, Dumebi Dumaka 90
Faversham Town: Will Godman, Bola Dawody (Will Thomas 43), Renford Tenyue, Dan Carrington, Matt Bourne, John Scarborough, Charley Robertson, George Monger, Dean Grant, Liam King (Jack Sellens 68), Kieran Campbell (Sam Bewick 68). Subs not used: Tom Benham.
Maidstone United: Ben Bridle-Card, Callum Driver, Tom Mills, Anthony Acheampong (Jack Richards 74), Kevin Lokko (Jack Evans 55), James Rogers, Tom Murphy, Dan Sweeney, Dumebi Dumaka, Ben Greenhalgh (Jack Paxman 63), Bobby-Joe Taylor (Vas Karagiannis 68). Sub not used: Tommy Taylor.