Saturday 21 January 2017 // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2,455 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s battle against the drop has received a boost as their narrow victory dragged Torquay United into the fight to avoid relegation.
This was the Stones’ first victory since they defeated Eastleigh at the end of November and having had 13 shots on target and 10 shots off target, it was important that Maidstone took advantage of their dominance in this match to get only their eighth win of the season.
It was the Stones who enjoyed the better of the first half and they looked bright early on. With just one minute played, Reece Prestedge found Delano Sam-Yorke who came in off the left wing and hit a shot which went across the face of goal.
Within seconds, Sam-Yorke had done well to spin past Ben Geering. Sam-Yorke put an excellent cross into the box which went to Bobby-Joe Taylor but Taylor’s first touch was disappointing and it allowed time for Brendan Moore in the Torquay goal to block his resultant effort.
The Stones kept on pushing and a free-kick from Taylor into the box was met by Jamie Coyle who was just past the back post. He headed the ball across goal where it was met by debutant Stuart Lewis and his header went inches over the bar.
Jamar Loza then passed to Seth Nana-Twumasi who was out on the right. Nana-Twuamasi cut inside and into the box, which was crowded with players, and he dragged the ball just wide of the right hand post.
Maidstone continued to create opportunities and they had a good chance to break the deadlock on 18 minutes. Tom Mills played a delightful ball forward to Jack Paxman who then played it to Taylor. Taylor moved forwards and sent the ball into the six yard box where Loza was waiting but unfortunately, Loza wasn’t quite able to get enough on the shot and it went wide.
The closest Torquay went in the first half came just before the half an hour mark. Aman Verma struck the ball from just outside the box and it took a deflection off Anthony Achaempong before bouncing wide of the right hand post.
Not long after this, Loza regained possession for Maidstone after the Gulls couldn’t clear their lines. Loza tried to chip Moore who was off his line and the ball seemed destined for the top left hand corner of the net until Moore intervened with a fantastic save to push the ball wide.
Just before the break Maidstone strung together a decent move. Prestedge found Sam-Yorke who then rolled the ball into the path of Lewis and his low drive from the edge of the box was only just off target.
The Stones started the second half like they had opened the game and Loza had two good opportunities to give Maidstone the lead inside the first four minutes. The first came when Paxman slipped the ball into space and Loza found himself bearing down on goal only for Sean McGinty to get across and put the ball wide. Then Lewis found Loza who came inside and hit a shot which Moore spilled before gathering at the second attempt.
But with 53 minutes gone, Maidstone finally edged in front. Loza did well down the right hand side and he picked out Sam-Yorke who brought the ball under control before firing it into the net.
The Stones’ lead didn’t last long though. Just past the hour a long ball forward caught out Coyle and substitute Brett Williams thumped a fine finish over the stranded Lee Worgan with what was only Torquay’s second shot on target of the afternoon.
Matters could have quickly got worse for the Stones. Following a corner from the Gulls, David Fitzpatrick put the ball into the area where it was met by McGinty and Worgan made a decent save close to his line.
However, with 69 minutes gone, Maidstone went back in front. Once again, Loza came in from the right and hit a shot which Moore could only parry and this time it dropped to Paxman who struck the ball high into the net.
As the game moved towards full time, Jay Saunders sent on Alex Flisher for Loza. Flisher was involved in a move which set up Taylor for a fierce effort that Moore blocked and then from the rebound, Flisher also saw his shot well blocked by the Torquay keeper.
Straight from this Torquay raced up the other end and Williams got the wrong side of Acheampong who pulled the Gulls player back. The referee, Mr Whitton, gave the penalty which Williams took but he was denied by a fantastic full length save by Worgan who flung himself to his left.
The Stones saw out the remaining moments well and they could have added some gloss to the scoreline with three minutes left. Sam-Yorke passed to Flisher who moved into space inside the box and he drew another excellent save from Moore who pushed the ball behind for a corner.
Maidstone United: Delano Sam-Yorke 53, Jack Paxman 69
Torquay United: Brett Williams 63
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 22. Seth Nana Twumasi, 4. Jamie Coyle, 15. Anthony Achaempong, 3. Tom Mills, 10. Jack Paxman (6. James Rogers 90), 14. Reece Prestedge, 8. Stuart Lewis, 25. Jamar Loza (11. Alex Flisher 75), 9. Delano Sam-Yorke 16. Bobby-Joe Taylor. Subs not used: 5. Kevin Lokko, 7. Vas Karagiannis, 20. Joseph N’Guessan.
Torquay United: 1. Brendan Moore, 17. Paul Rooney, 6. Ben Geering (7. Sam Chaney 85), 15. Sean McGinty, 3. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, 25. David Fitzpatrick, 12. Aman Verma, 10. Courtney Richards, 8. Luke Young (18. Jamie Reid 56), 11. Dan Sparkes, 9. Shaun Harrad (14. Brett Williams 56). Subs not used: 31. Jordan Lee, 26. Jamie Robba.
Who was your man of the match against Torquay United?
- Stuart Lewis (47%, 183 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (18%, 71 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (11%, 43 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (7%, 26 Votes)
- Seth Nana-Twumasi (6%, 22 Votes)
- Jamar Loza (4%, 15 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (3%, 11 Votes)
- Bobby-Joe Taylor (3%, 10 Votes)
- Tom Mills (1%, 3 Votes)
- Alex Flisher (1%, 3 Votes)
- Anthony Acheampong (1%, 2 Votes)
- Jamie Coyle (1%, 2 Votes)
- James Roger (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 391