Saturday 2 September // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 4,137 (147 Maidstone United fans) // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s four game unbeaten run came to an end in Country Durham as they came undone against early strugglers Hartlepool United. Pools had taken until the match against Guiseley on bank holiday Monday to get their first win of the season but their performance against the Stones suggested it won’t be long before they start to climb up the National League table.
The home side dominated the first half as Maidstone struggled at times to get into the match. With just seven minutes gone, Pools signalled their intent with Connor Simpson finding Devante Rodney as the home side moved forwards with pace. Rodney struck a goal bound shot from just outside the area only for Lee Worgan fling himself to his right to make an excellent full length save.
It was no surprise when Pools took the lead on 19 minutes though. A corner from the eye-catching Nicky Deverdics wasn’t cleared properly and Lewis Hawkins put the ball back into Keith Watson who spun and sent a low finish past Worgan.
Deverdics was continuing to cause Maidstone’s defence problems and he tested Worgan with a free-kick from distance which the Stones keeper managed to push up into the air. Then from another dead ball, Michael Woods’ effort deflected just wide of the left post.
Hartlepool went close again just before the half hour mark. Deverdics’ corner to the back post was headed just wide by Michael Ledger. Soon after this, Deverdics then sent another corner to the same area and this time the unmarked Jonathan Franks missed the target.
But despite having been second best, Maidstone nearly went in at the break on level terms. The Hartlepool defence couldn’t clear Jack Paxman’s drive inside the area and it looped up towards the back post where Zavon Hines was waiting. Hines’ effort was on target but he was denied by a decent stop by Scott Loach in the Pools goal and Loach recovered quickly to deny Paxman from the rebound.
Then with the game in first half stoppage time, Rodney tricked his way past Joe Anderson out on the Hartlepool right. Rodney’s run took him into a good position inside the box only for his shot to deflect inches wide.
The Stones looked stronger after the break and they pushed Hartlepool back early on. Two minutes after the restart, Josh Hines put a deep cross into the box and Joe Pigott’s header went over the bar.
But despite the improvement from Maidstone, Hartlepool doubled their lead with their first opportunity of the half. Deverdics crossed from the left and Jonathan Franks stooped to find the bottom right corner of the net with his head.
The visitors looked to get back into the match quickly and they went close on 59 minutes. Stuart Lewis put high cross into the area which Pigott did well to get his head to as he was falling backwards and Loach made a fine one handed stop.
But any hopes Maidstone had of getting back into the match were dashed nine minutes later. Substitute Ryan Donaldson suddenly found himself bursting towards goal but Worgan stood up well to make the block. Hartlepool kept going though and when the cross came back in, Connor Simpson powered his header into the net.
There after Maidstone had a couple of chances with substitute Jack Richards looking particularly positive for the Stones but for the most part, Hartlepool defended resolutely. That was until stoppage time when Paxman threaded the ball into substitute Johan ter Horst who worked his way to the edge of the box before picking his spot and sending a nice finish past the stranded Loach.
Hartlepool United: Keith Watson 19, Jonathan Franks 57, Connor Simpson 68
Maidstone United: Johan ter Horst 90
Hartlepool United: 1. Scott Loach, 2. Carl Magnay, 28. Keith Watson, 29. Michael Ledger, 17. Nicky Deverdics, 4. Nicky Featherstone, 14. Michael Woods, 18. Lewis Hawkins, 21. Devante Rodney (7. Ryan Donaldson 62), 12. Jonathan Franks, 27. Connor Simpson (11. Rhys Oates 78). Subs not used: 8. Jack Munns, 19. Kenton Richardson, 24. Connor Simpson.
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 2. Josh Hare, 6. Magnus Okuonghae, 5. Alex Wynter, 13. Joe Anderson, 14. Jai Reason (23. Jack Richards 58), 10. Jack Paxman, 8. Stuart Lewis, 27. Zavon Hines (11. Tom Wraight 79), 9. Delano Sam-Yorke (22. Johan ter Horst 76), 32. Joe Pigott. Subs not used: 3. Alex Finney, 4. Reece Prestedge.
Who was your man of the match against Hartlepool United?
- Johan ter Horst (33%, 30 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (15%, 14 Votes)
- Joe Pigott (10%, 9 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (9%, 8 Votes)
- Jack Richards (9%, 8 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (8%, 7 Votes)
- Magnus Okuonghae (4%, 4 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (3%, 3 Votes)
- Zavon Hines (3%, 3 Votes)
- Josh Hare (2%, 2 Votes)
- Jai Reason (1%, 1 Votes)
- Joe Anderson (1%, 1 Votes)
- Alex Wynter (1%, 1 Votes)
- Tom Wraight (1%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 92