Saturday 4 March // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2,404 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s excellent run of form continues as they registered an important victory over Southport who are also facing a battle against the drop.
The win means that the Stones have now not lost for five matches and they have also pulled five points clear of the relegation zone. But if Macclesfield beat Dulwich in the FA Trophy in the week, Maidstone won’t play again until 21st March when they face Sutton United at home.
The Stones have started their last couple of matches strongly but this time, it was the visitors who took the lead with just three minutes gone. Neil Ashton’s cross from the left came to Ben McKenna and he headed past Lee Worgan from close range.
But as the half progressed, Maidstone started to get into their stride with Jamar Loza looking particularly lively down the left. With 19 minutes gone, Loza burst forward from midfield and did very well to get into the box. He took a touch to settle himself as Craig King came out of goal only for King to get a leg to the ball and divert it behind for a corner.
A free-kick from Jack Paxman was only just headed over the bar by Joe Pigott and then Paxman was involved again not long after this. The Maidstone midfielder rolled the ball into Delano Sam-Yorke down the left and Sam-Yorke returned the ball to Paxman who shot wide of the near post.
Loza then went down in the area under a challenge from Robbie Cundy but no penalty was forthcoming but the Stones did finally level with 38 minutes played. Tom Mills kept the ball in play at full stretch and his ball forward should have been dealt with by the Southport defence. But Pigott had other ideas and he nipped in to play the ball into Loza who despatched a neat finish past King.
Having tried so slow the game down whenever possible, Southport paid the price when in the second minute of stoppage time, Maidstone were awarded a penalty. Reece Prestedge played the ball into Loza who was tripped by Ryan Higgins as he tried to cut back inside and it was Loza himself who fired the spot kick into the left hand side of the net.
But with 51 minutes on the clock, Southport equalised. Maidstone were unable to clear their lines following an Ashton corner and when the ball came back in, Jamie Allen volleyed in from about eight yards out.
The Stones tried to respond quickly and they had an opportunity when the ball was worked to Sam-Yorke but he tried to chip King and he put the chance over the bar. Then another corner from Ashton threatened to cause Maidstone problems only for Robbie Cundy’s header to flash just wide.
Then with an hour gone, the Stones suddenly went back in front. Once again, Loza was instrumental and his hard work down the right paid off as he picked out Pigott who side footed in from a central position.
And ten minutes later, Maidstone stretched their advantage even further. Tom Mills took a free-kick from out on the left which went all the way across the box to Kevin Lokko. The defender brought the ball down and then swivelled before sending a fine finish into the far side of the net.
After this, the Stones looked largely comfortable as they saw out the remaining moments. With 76 minutes gone, Paxman played the ball into Loza on the left hand side of the box but King made a straightforward save. And with the game in stoppage time, substitute Yemi Odubade got into a good position only for Ashton to get across and make the block.
Maidstone United: Jamar Loza 38, 45, Joe Pigott 60, Kevin Lokko 70
Southport: Ben McKenna 3, Jamie Allen 51
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 22. Seth-Nana Twuamasi, 5. Kevin Lokko, 4. Jamie Coyle, 3. Tom Mills, 10. Jack Paxman, 20. Jake McCarthy (21. Harry Phipps 79), 14. Reece Prestedge, 25. Jamar Loza (16. Bobby-Joe Taylor 86), 32. Joe Pigott, 9. Delano Sam-Yorke (23. Yemi Odubade 90). Subs not used: 15. Anthony Acheampong, 24. Magnus Okuonghae.
Southport: 28. Craig King,26. Ryan Higgins, 24. Robbie Cundy, 6. Euan Murray, 3. Neil Ashton, 4. Liam Nolan (12. Andrai Jones 68), 14. Ben McKenna (25. Louis Almond 62), 10. Liam Hynes, 22. Jim Steven, 21. Lindon Meikle, 7. Jamie Allen (8. Ashley Grimes 75). Subs not used: 19. Declan Weeks, 23. Rory McKeown.
Who was your man of the match against Southport?
- Jamar Loza (57%, 190 Votes)
- Joe Pigott (13%, 45 Votes)
- Tom Mills (6%, 20 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (6%, 20 Votes)
- Kevin Lokko (6%, 19 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (5%, 18 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (3%, 10 Votes)
- Jamie Coyle (1%, 4 Votes)
- Jake McCarthy (1%, 4 Votes)
- Seth Nana-Twumasi (1%, 2 Votes)
- Harry Phipps (0%, 1 Votes)
- Bobby-Joe Taylor (0%, 1 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (0%, 1 Votes)
- Yemi Odubade (0%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 336