Havant and Waterlooville 1-2 Maidstone United // National League South // Attendance: 1,451 // Match report by Ruth Tunnell // Saturday 4 January 2020
A double from Ibby Akanbi was enough to give the Stones all three points as Maidstone defended resolutely to inflict Havant and Waterlooville’s first defeat in the league since 12 October.
There were a number of familiar names in the Havant starting line up. Ross Worner, Simon Walton and Josh Taylor all featured for the Stones last season and the Hawks’ captain is former Ebbsfleet striker Danny Kedwell.
On 11 minutes, Iffy Allen found Gavin Hoyte who put a dangerous low ball across the six yard box. It only needed the faintest of touches to divert it in, but Dan Wishart couldn’t quite reach the ball.
At the other end, an effort from Alfie Rutherford flew just over the bar and Josh Taylor’s ball into the box lead to a scramble before Maidstone’s defence cleared their lines. Then on 31 minutes, Maidstone edged in front. A throw from Hoyte came to Matt McClure who picked out Ibby Akanbi and he was allowed to and shoot past Ross Worner.
With the game in first half stoppage time, McClure was involved again as he played the ball forwards. The pass should have been intercepted by Joe Cook but the Havant defender slipped, giving Akanbi the opportunity to move into the area before taking his time to fire the ball into the net.
Just before the break, Maidstone went close to adding a third. McClure played the ball back to Noah Chesmain whose rising shot from 20 yards was tipped over the bar by Worner.
Unsurprisingly, Havant upped the tempo after the interval and they also made two changes, bringing on Benny Read and Nicky Bailey for Joe Cook and Alfie Rutherford. With 56 minutes gone, Ross Marshall made an important block to deny Jonah Ayunga and play immediately swung to the other end. Akanbi found himself with only Worner to beat but the Havant keeper made the stop with his legs.
A corner from Drury was met by Kedwell only for Noah Chesmain to head the ball off the line but Havant kept on pushing. Anthony Straker headed the ball back into an awkward area and with Wesley Fogden waiting to pounce, Lewis Knight did well to concede a corner. From this, Drury’s ball in looked to be heading straight into the net until Hoyte intervened with a goal saving header.
Not long past the hour, Walton put the ball into the box for Kedwell and Chris Lewington had to claw the ball over the bar. Then there was another scramble inside the area which ended with Ayunga’s effort being cleared from inside the six yard box by Dan Wishart.
Having been under pressure for the majority of the second half, it was no surprise that Maidstone’s defence was finally breached on 78 minutes. Ayunga played the ball to substitute Benny Read who took a couple of steps forward and sent a fine finish past Lewington from a very tight angle.
Wishart was unable to stop Taylor moving into a central area just outside the box but Taylor lifted the ball well over the bar. Then Ayunga got past Knight down the left and lashed the ball into the side netting.
With the game in its final minute, substitute Brad Tarbuck put an inviting ball over the top of the Maidstone defence but Taylor was unable to get a touch as Lewington collected the ball. There was then six minutes of stoppage time for the Stones to survive and during this, it seemed certain that the Hawks were going to equalise when Tarbuck’s cross was met by leading striker Ayunga but he headed wide when well placed.
The final action of the game saw another wave of Havant pressure as the ball once again pinged around in the Maidstone box. Taylor appeared to get the shot away but Lewington stuck his leg out to made the save to ensure the Stones took all three points.
Havant and Waterlooville: Benny Read 78
Maidstone United:Ibby Akanbi 31, 45
Havant and Waterlooville: 1. Ross Worner, 3. Anthony Straker, 4. Simon Walton, 6. Sam Magri, 7. Wesley Fogden (12. Brad Tarbuck 75), 8. Andy Drury, 18. Joe Cook (2. Benny Read 45), 20. Alfie Rutherford (14. Nicky Bailey 20), 17. Josh Taylor, 9. Danny Kedwell, 10. Jonah Ayunga. Subs not used: 5. Dean Beckwith, 19. Chris Paul.
Maidstone United:16. Chris Lewington, 2. Gavin Hoyte, 5. Lewis Knight, 6. George Elokobi, 12. Noah Chesmain, 17. Iffy Allen, 4. Ross Marshall, 7. Zihni Temelci, 15. Dan Wishart, 10. Ibby Akanbi, 20. Matt McClure. Subs not used: 3. Luke Pennell, 11. Liam Wilkins, 14. Ibrahim Olutade, 1. Sam Ribbens.
Who was your man of the match against Havant & Waterlooville Total Voters: 114
Who was your man of the match against Havant & Waterlooville
Total Voters: 114