Saturday 28 October // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2,351 (116 Chester fans) // Report by Ruth Tunnell
A dramatic goal five minutes into additional time at the end of the match from Alex Finney saw the Stones edge past Chester. The result was much deserved for Maidstone who had looked the stronger of the two sides but they found it difficult to break down a well organised and defensively minded Chester side.
After an excellent away performance and win at FC Halifax Town, unsurprisingly Jay Saunders elected to name an unchanged side. And with the Stones picking up another three points against Chester, they have now moved up to fifth and are just four points off top spot with a game in hand.
On two minutes, the visitors strung together a promising move. Former Maidstone right back Reece Hall-Johnson sailed past Seth Nana Twumasi before pulling the ball back into the middle where it was eventually worked to Lucas Dawson who drilled the ball wide.
Tom Wraight then found Alex Lynch’s arms, as for a change, he, rather than Joe Pigott, took a free-kick from just outside the box. And seconds after this, Zavon Hines put a free-kick into the area after he was fouled close to the touchline and Josh Hare’s header flashed wide.
Maidstone then battled hard to win the ball through Wraight and their determination continued as the ball came into Pigott who was on the floor in the box. Pigott managed to lift the ball into space and Hines arrived to volley over.
Hines went even closer on 11 minutes. Alex Wynter switched the play to find Twumasi and he passed to Hines who came inside before hitting a goalbound effort which Alex Lynch in the Chester goal did well to push wide.
As the game progressed, the Blues started to come into the match more. Hall-Johnson was fouled out on the right and Dawson’s free-kick towards the back post was poked wide by the stretching Ryan Astles.
And just after this, the ball dropped to Ross Hannah inside the box. Hannah didn’t seem to realise that he had time to bring the ball under control and his rushed effort went well wide.
Maidstone then should have done better from a corner on 24 minutes. Wraight played a short ball to Jai Reason who gave it back to Wraight who was left in plenty of space only to drag his shot wide of the near post.
There was then a scare for the Stones. Lee Worgan came to claim a ball forwards but he accidentally spilled it outside of his area. The ball broke to Jordan Archer who was about 20 yards from goal but Wynter managed to make an important block.
Then three minutes before the break, Maidstone came within inches of going ahead. A free-kick from Hines came to Reason who found Stuart Lewis and his low drive took a deflection before hitting the right post and the rebound was gathered by Lynch.
The Stones looked determined in the early minutes after the break. Following a corner, Hines came across to the other side to win the ball and he rolled the ball back to Hare who saw his chance miss the left post by a whisker.
Pigott then saw a free-kick from just outside the area and at a slight angle drop over the bar. And Pigott could have put Maidstone in front on 56 minutes. Wraight slid the ball down the line and Pigott expertly turned past John McCombe before trying to pick his spot just inside the far post and he curled the ball wide.
Maidstone continued to dominate possession and with Lynch in the Chester goal appearing to struggle with an injury, the Stones went close. Pigott spread the ball out to Hare and his shot from distance flew just past the left post.
Lynch soon recovered though and he was called into action with eight minutes remaining. There was good build up play from Maidstone in a move which ended with Lewis playing the ball to Hines who chipped the ball into the middle and substitute Jamar Loza’s header went straight at Lynch.
The fourth official then indicated seven minutes of additional time and after four of these, Chester went close to getting the three points. Dawson’s free-kick into the area was met by McCombe and his header only just missed the target.
But sixty seconds later, it was the Stones who did snatch the victory. Reason’s corner came out to Alex Finney and the centre half showed good composure to riffle a low finish through a crowd and past the stranded Lynch before celebrating enthusiastically with the ecstatic home crowd.
Maidstone United: Alex Finney 90 + 5
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 16. Seth Nana Twumasi, 3. Alex Finney, 5. Alex Wynter, 11. Tom Wraight (7. Jamar Loza 73), 2. Josh Hare, 8. Stuart Lewis, 14. Jai Reason, 27. Zavon Hines (4. Reece Prestedge 90), 32. Joe Pigott (22. Johan ter Horst 90), 10. Delano Sam-Yorke. Subs not used: 12. Ollie Muldoon, 13. Joe Anderson.
Chester: 1. Alex Lynch, 29. Reece Hall-Johnson, 5. John McCombe, 6. Ryan Astles, 31. Jordan Gough, 2. Andy Halls, 8. Paul Turnball (3. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner 90), 4. Kingsley James, 17. Lucas Dawson, 10. Ross Hannah (9. Harry White 84), 30. Jordan Archer (16. Offrande Zanzala 90). Subs not used: 13. Conor Mitchell, 15. Nyal Bell.
Who was your man of the match against Chester?
- Alex Finney (55%, 138 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (17%, 43 Votes)
- Zavon Hines (6%, 15 Votes)
- Seth Nana Twumasi (5%, 12 Votes)
- Alex Wynter (4%, 10 Votes)
- Jai Reason (4%, 9 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (4%, 9 Votes)
- Joe Pigott (3%, 7 Votes)
- Tom Wraight (2%, 4 Votes)
- Jamar Loza (1%, 2 Votes)
- Johan ter Horst (0%, 0 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (0%, 0 Votes)
- Josh Hare (0%, 0 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 249