Saturday 2 December 2017 // FA Cup second round // Attendance: 4,804 (1,541 Maidstone United supporters) // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United’s FA Cup run has ended for another season after they were well beaten by League One side MK Dons.
This was the third match in the row that the Stones have shipped four goals but they could have no arguments about the manner of the defeat as the home side demonstrated that there is a large gulf in class between League One and the National League.
That said, Maidstone were excellent in the first half as they mostly held the Dons at bay. And having taken the lead, they could have gone in at the break even further ahead had Delano Sam-Yorke and Zavon Hines, in particular, had taken their chances.
For all their early possession, with Gboly Ariyibi and Aidan Nesbitt looking particularly dangerous, MK Dons couldn’t carve out any clear-cut opportunities early on. The closest they came was with 15 minutes played when Ariyibi went past Joe Anderson but his shot was deflected into the side netting.
As the half went on, the Stones started to come into the game more and they went in front on 25 minutes. Zavon Hines won a corner which he took and his delivery into the box came back out to Jai Reason. Reason showed excellent technique to hit a half volley goalwards which Lee Nicholls could only parry and Magnus Okuonghae reacted quickest to turn the ball in from close range.
MK Dons tried to respond quickly and the impressive Chuks Aneke went close with a drive which went across the face of goal. Then at the other end, Sam-Yorke was only just off target with an effort from the edge of the box before he got in down the left side of the area but he rushed his shot and sliced the ball into the seats behind the goal.
There was then a moment when the Maidstone defence struggled to get the ball clear. Aneke worked the ball to Ariyibi who was in space just outside the area and Lee Worgan had to react smartly to make the save.
Okuongahe made a crucial challenge to deny Ryan Seager after he had been played into a good position by Ed Upson before the Stones could have added to their tally in first half stoppage time. First a free-kick fell to Joe Pigott who was in the box but from a very tight angle, his shot defected wide.
Then a lovely ball forward from Reason released Sam-Yorke down the right. Sam-Yorke ran to the by-line before laying a perfect pass into the path of the arriving Hines who went for a quick finish and he sent the ball well wide.
The kick off to the second half was delayed by ten minutes after an injury to one of the officials and this seemed to affect the Stones whilst the home side came flying out after the break. Within 60 seconds of the restart, MK Dons should have equalised. Worgan did well to deny Aneke after the striker had forced his way through the Maidstone defence and the ball rebounded to Upson who somehow hit the bar.
Stuart Lewis then battled hard to work the ball to Sam-Yorke who was in a decent position inside the area but he shot wide but by now it was becoming increasingly obvious that it was likely to be the home side who would score next. Ariyibi cut the ball back to Upson only for Worgan to make a stunning save but just seconds later, MK Dons finally levelled as Nesbitt moved into space before driving the ball past Worgan.
Maidstone’s defence was looking vulnerable every time the home side attacked and Ethan Ebanks-Landell found the side netting before substitute Kieran Agard scored with his first touch on 64 minutes. Worgan did well to parry the original effort from Upson but Agard swept in to convert the rebound.
An acrobatic effort from Alex Wynter which didn’t miss by much briefly gave the Stones hope that they could get back into the match but any positive thoughts vanished with 20 minutes remaining. The dangerous Agard got past Alex Finney and in on goal before calmly finishing past the stranded Worgan.
Then with one minute remaining, MK Dons rounded off a strong comeback. Once again, a substitute was to prove instrumental as this time Peter Pawlett showed determination to battle his way into the box and although Worgan managed to block his first shot, the ball rebounded kindly to Pawlett who scored the home side’s fourth goal of the afternoon.
Maidstone United: Magnus Okuonghae 25
MK Dons: Aidan Nesbitt 54, Kieran Agard 64, 70, Peter Pawlett 89
MK Dons: 1. Lee Nicholls, 2. George Williams, 5. Scott Wootton, 6. Ed Upson, 7. Gboly Ariyibi, 10. Chuks Aneke, 12. Scott Goldbourne, 15. Ryan Seager (14. Kieran Agard 63), 18. Conor McGrandles, 10. Ethan Ebanks-Landell (4. Joe Walsh 71), 21. Aidan Nesbitt (11. Peter Pawlett 80). Subs not used: 13. Wieger Siestsma, 16. Robbie Muirhead, 30. Sam Nombe, 31. Brandon Thomas-Asante.
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 2. Josh Hare, 3. Alex Finney, 6. Magnus Okuonghae, 13. Joe Anderson, 5. Alex Wynter, 8. Stuart Lewis, 14. Jai Reason (10. Jack Paxman 83), 27. Zavon Hines (7. Jamar Loza 77), 32. Joe Pigott, 9. Delano Sam-Yorke (39. Aaron Collins 68). Subs not used: 4. Reece Prestedge 23. Jack Richards, 12. Ollie Muldoon, 11. Tom Wraight.
Who was your man of the match against MK Dons?
- Joe Pigott (33%, 52 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (23%, 37 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (19%, 31 Votes)
- Alex Wynter (8%, 13 Votes)
- Magnus Okuonghae (4%, 7 Votes)
- Alex Finney (4%, 6 Votes)
- Jai Reason (4%, 6 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (2%, 3 Votes)
- Josh Hare (2%, 3 Votes)
- Zavon Hines (1%, 1 Votes)
- Aaron Colins (1%, 1 Votes)
- Jamar Loza (0%, 0 Votes)
- Joe Anderson (0%, 0 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 160