Saturday 14 April 2018 // National League // Attendance: 2,254 (39 AFC Fylde supporters) // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United have taken a big step towards remaining in the National League with an excellent victory over promotion chasing AFC Fylde. This was the Stones’ first win in six matches and they also managed to keep a clean sheet against the league’s top scorers who had got 81 goals before this match.
The Stones started brightly and they might have had a penalty with just seven minutes gone. Stuart Lewis slipped the ball into Michael Phillips who appeared to be tripped inside the box by Luke Burke but the referee, Mr Dale, felt that no offence had been committed.
Seconds after this, the visitors went close to edging in front. AFC Fylde broke quickly and Jack Muldoon found Danny Rowe. Will De Havilland was alert to the danger though and importantly, he closed Rowe down quickly to make sure the prolific striker’s effort deflected just wide of the left post.
Andy Bond then hit the side netting for the visitors before the Stones took the lead on 23 minutes. Simon Grand tried to sweep the ball out to the left but Blair Turgott expertly intercepted the loose pass just inside the Coasters half. Turgott then ran all the way into the area and with Andre Coker waiting for the pull back, Turgott cut inside and drove an excellent finish past Jay Lynch in the AFC Fylde goal.
Maidstone continued to look confident going forward and they put together a decent move involving Stuart Lewis, Coker and Loza which ended with Loza forcing Lynch to beat the ball away from goal. When the corner came in, Alex Wynter got up well to meet Turgott’s cross and Jordan Tunnicliffe got the ball off the line.
In the later stages of the first half, AFC Flyde created a couple of opportunities. Jonny Smith got in behind Joe Anderson but ran went wide and Lee Worgan managed to block his effort at his near post. Then from a corner, James Hardy picked out substitute Jake Lawlor whose half volley looked to be creeping in until Phillips managed to divert it over the bar with a header.
Unsurprisingly the visitors improved after the break. On 49 minutes, Jonny Smith beat the offside trap after Lewis lost the ball from a corner. Smith raced towards the box but Phillips was in attendance forcing Smith to shoot early and he lifted the ball over the bar.
Alex Finney then got an important block in to divert another effort from Smith behind for a corner. James Hardy delivered this straight to Rowe and once again, De Havilland did well to ensure Rowe’s shot looped over the bar.
Just past the hour mark, Maidstone came within a whisker of increasing their lead. They were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box which Lewis rolled through the legs of Turgott to Joe Anderson. Anderson leathered the ball goalwards and he was unfortunate to see the ball strike the inside of the post.
After this, there was little in the way of goalmouth action. On 75 minutes Turgott got in down the right and with a number of players queuing up inside the box, Turgott fired the ball all the way across the six yard box. But in the end, this didn’t matter as the Stones held on comfortably to register an important three points.
Maidstone United: Blair Turgott 23
AFC Fylde: –
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 2. Josh Hare, 3. Alex Finney, 22. Will De Havilland, 13. Joe Anderson, 5. Alex Wynter, 37. Michael Phillips (14. Jai Reason 80), 8. Stuart Lewis, 7. Jamar Loza (11. Tom Wraight 82), 35. Andre Coker (36. Greg Luer 88), 19. Blair Turgott. Subs not used: 4. Reece Prestedge, 10. Jack Paxman.
AFC Fylde: 13. Jay Lynch, 22. Luke Burke, 5. Jordan Tunnicliffe, 15. Simon Grand (30. Jake Lawlor 29), 3. Zaine Francis-Angol, 2. Lewis Montrose, 6. Andy Bond, 7. James Hardy (17. Matt Blinkhorn 67), 11. Jack Muldoon, 9. Danny Rowe (20. Serhat Tasdemir 72), 18. Jonny Smith. Subs not used: 12. Jason Taylor, 27. Henry Jones.