Saturday 30 March 2018 // National League // Attendance: 2559 (205 Hartlepool United supporters) // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United haven’t yet eased their relegation worries after a second defeat in a row saw them lose to Hartlepool United. The Stones had 20 attempts on goal as opposed to Pools’ seven but Maidstone were left to rue their lack of clinical finishing as Hartlepool seized two of the chances that came their way.
There were just two minutes on the clock when Louis Laing missed his header allowing Ross Lafayette to gain possession. Lafayette ran into the box and from a tight angle, shot into the side netting.
Hartlepool then went close moments later. Michael Woods got past Alex Finney and found Jake Cassidy who flicked the ball towards goal only for it to go inches wide of the left post.
Soon after this, Josh Hare curled a good ball into Lafayette. Lafayette tried to find Blair Turgott with a low ball into the box but Lewis Hawkins did well to slide the ball wide.
And Turgott was to get another sniff of goal on 10 minutes. The ball broke loose in midfield and ran kindly for the Maidstone player who raced into the box but his shot was deflected wide.
Lee Worgan was soon called into action for the first time in the afternoon. Alex Finney’s blocked clearance came to Hawkins who was about 20 yards out and he drove the ball towards goal only for Worgan to make a decent save.
Then on 25 minutes, Hartlepool took the lead. Josh Hawkes slipped a good pass into Rhys Oates who saw his effort parried by Worgan. Unfortunately for the Stones though, the ball broke straight to Michael Woods who side footed the ball into the empty net.
With the half time interval approaching, Maidstone increased the pressure on Pools. Joe Anderson saw his rising drive pushed over the bar by Scott Loach and then Josh Hare crossed from a deep position to Lafayette whose header only just dropped over the goal. Then on 45 minutes, Stuart Lewis exchanged passes with Greg Luer before Lewis stuck a strong effort which looked to be going in until Loach intervened with a superb save to push the ball over the bar.
Not long before the hour, Hartlepool had an opportunity to increase their lead. Cassidy found Conor Newton who passed to Hawkes who was in a good position just inside the box and his shot went wide of the far post.
At the other end, Maidstone finally opened up Pools defence on 63 minutes. Lafayette flicked his header into space in the box and Luer got in but Loach was off his line impressively quickly and he got a vital touch to divert the ball behind.
It was then Hartlepool’s turn to go close. Lewis accidentally lost the ball in midfield and it was quickly worked to substitute Devante Rodney. Rodney ran into the box and rounded Worgan but he was forced wide and Alex Finney did well to make sure the ball ran behind for a corner.
Maidstone then began to increase the pressure once again and forced a series of corners. From two of these, Turgott’s balls in where met by Alex Wynter but he saw his first header pushed over the bar by Loach and from the second, Cassidy made a good block close to the post.
There was then a five minute delay after a nasty looking injury to Will de Havilland who was caught in the Hartlepool box as he headed the ball over the bar. De Havilland left the pitch on a stretcher and in a neck brace and unsurprisingly, this disrupted Maidstone’s flow.
When the game resumed, it wasn’t long before Pools extended their lead. On 88 minutes, Alex Wynter missed a header and then Hare was unable to take the chance to get the ball clear. This allowed Cassidy to gain possession and as he went into the box he was tripped by Wynter. The referee, Mr Purkiss, pointed to the spot and Wood sent Worgan the wrong way with the penalty.
The Stones quickly gave themselves hope of getting something from the game. With the match in stoppage time, substitute Jack Paxman’s corner was stabbed into the six yard box by Lewis and Lafayette reacted quickest to stab the ball in.
But any hopes Maidstone had of grabbing a point ended in the sixth minute of additional time. The ball dropped to Wynter in the box but he dragged his effort wide of the far post.
Maidstone United: –
Hartlepool United: Michael Woods 25, 89 (pen)
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 22. Will De Havilland (10. Jack Paxman 84), 5. Alex Wynter, 3. Alex Finney, 2. Josh Hare, 8. Stuart Lewis, 14. Jai Reason, 19. Blair Turgott (7. Jamar Loza 78),13. Joe Anderson, 29. Ross Lafayette, 36. Greg Luer (9 Delano Sam-Yorke 65). Subs not used: 37. Michael Phillips 16. Seth Nana Twumasi.
Hartlepool United: 1. Scott Loach, 18. Lewis Hawkins, 2. Carl Magnay, 23. Louis Laing, 3. Blair Adams, 4. Nicky Featherstone, 15. Josh Hawkes, 24. Conor Newton, 14. Michael Woods, 11. Rhys Oates (21. Devante Rodney 65), 9. Jake Cassidy. Subs not used: 13. Ryan Catterick, 31. Jacob Owen, 16. Lewis Orrell, 8. Jack Munns.
Who was your man of the match against Hartlepool United?
- Ross Lafayette (23%, 34 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (13%, 19 Votes)
- Greg Luer (9%, 14 Votes)
- Will De Havilland (9%, 14 Votes)
- Joe Anderson (9%, 13 Votes)
- Josh Hare (6%, 9 Votes)
- Jai Reason (5%, 8 Votes)
- Alex Finney (5%, 8 Votes)
- Alex Wynter (5%, 7 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (4%, 6 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (3%, 5 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (3%, 5 Votes)
- Blair Turgott (3%, 4 Votes)
- Jamar Loza (1%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 148