Saturday 29 April // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 3,409 (496 Tranmere Rovers supporters) // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United ended their first season in the National League with a defeat as they lost to a much changed Tranmere Rovers side who will face Aldershot Town in the playoffs next week.
This was only the Stones’ second defeat in 15 matches after they went on an excellent run of form from early February to haul themselves out of the relegation zone and ultimately finish in 14th place.
Despite giving nine players full debuts, Tranmere started well enough and on seven minutes they had their first attempt on goal. Adam Mekki went past Tom Mills and hit a low shot from the edge of the box but it didn’t trouble Lee Worgan.
Maidstone then forced six corners before 15 minutes had passed but during this spell they didn’t test Luke Pilling in the Tranmere goal and then at the other end, Sam Illesanmi’s neat touch put Aaron Collins in down the left hand side of the area. Collins perhaps could have gone for goal but he unselfishly squared the ball to Callum Lacy who wastefully blazed over when well placed.
The Stones were starting to look dangerous going forward and on 26 minutes a spell of possession ended with Bobby-Joe Taylor finding the arriving Stuart Lewis who hit a shot with the outside of his boot which Pilling got down smartly to his left to make a fine save. Taylor was then involved again when he hit a low effort just wide of the right post and he soon picked out Yemi Odubade who was in a central position inside the box only for Pilling to make another decent stop.
Not long after the break, Reece Prestedge played the ball into Odubade who hit a half volley from 25 yards which flashed just over. But the deadlock was broken on 56 minutes, Stuart Lewis and Prestedge got in each other’s way on the edge of the box as Lewis tried to bring the ball clear. The ball came to Adam Dawson and he fed Sam Ilesanmi who showed good feet to trick his way into space and dispatch a neat finish past the isolated Worgan.
Two minutes later, Rovers could have pulled further ahead. Aaron Collins got into the box on the left hand side and his effort was on target but Worgan made the stop with his feet.
The Stones looked a bit flat for a while but with ten minutes to go, they came close to equalising. Alex Flisher turned and lifted the ball goalwards and Pilling had to be alert to palm the ball away as it threatened to creep in under the bar.
With one minute remaining, Tom Mills had a shot bravely blocked substitute Jack Flemming. Then the final chance of the game fell to Flisher who had a low shot from the edge of the box but he hit the ball straight at Pilling.
Maidstone United: –
Tranmere Rovers: Sam Ilesanmi 56
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 22. Seth Nana Twuamasi, 5. Kevin Lokko, 24. Magnus Okuonghae (4. Jamie Coyle 65), 3. Tom Mills, 16. Bobby-Joe Taylor, 14. Reece Prestedge (10. Jack Paxman 57), 8. Stuart Lewis, 11. Alex Flisher, 23. Yemi Odubade,32. Joe Pigott (21. Harry Phipps 88). Subs not used: 15. Anthony Achaempong, 20. Jake McCarthy.
Tranmere Rovers: 26. Luke Pilling, 37. Josh Solomon-Davies, 28. Evan Gumbs, 35. Declan Drysdale,31. Eddie Clarke (36. Jack Flemming 36), 34. Erico Sousa, 33. Callum Lucy, 7. Adam Mekki (42. James Divine 76), 21. Adam Dawson, 39. Aaron Collins, 30. Sam Illesanmi (32. Tom Croughan 64). Subs not used: 40. Patrick Wharton, 41. Udoyen Akpan
Who was your man of the match against Tranmere Rovers?
- Bobby-Joe Taylor (25%, 38 Votes)
- Alex Flisher (17%, 26 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (10%, 16 Votes)
- Tom Mills (8%, 12 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (7%, 11 Votes)
- Kevin Lokko (7%, 11 Votes)
- Magnus Okuonghae (7%, 11 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (6%, 9 Votes)
- Joe Pigott (5%, 8 Votes)
- Yemi Odubade (3%, 4 Votes)
- Seth Nana-Twumasi (3%, 4 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (1%, 1 Votes)
- Jamie Coyle (1%, 1 Votes)
- Harry Phipps (1%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 153