Saturday 26 August // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2,312 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
Maidstone United have got their first away victory on the board after they came behind to beat early pace setters Sutton United in a match which turned on substitutions from both sides.
The U’s dominated the first half but early on in the second, Jay Saunders sent on Zavon Hines and Jack Paxman with both players having key roles in Maidstone’s fightback. Coupled with this, Paul Doswell had to bring off Tommy Wright and Kenny Davis who had been instrumental to Sutton in the first half and after this, it was the Stones who assumed control.
Early on, Davis picked out the unmarked Jamie Collins from a corner but Collins was some distance from goal and his header was off target. Tom Wraight then brought down Craig Eastmond on the edge of the box. Collins drove the resultant free-kick into wall and from the rebound, Davis put the ball over the bar.
Shortly after this, there was a scare for the Stones. Davis played a long ball forwards which Lee Worgan tried to usher out for a goal kick but he got caught by Wright who steamed in only to find the side netting from a very tight angle.
Davis was involved in a lot of Sutton’s forays forward and he could have given the U’s the lead on 23 minutes. Josh Taylor pulled the ball back to Davis who had made a run into the box but he rushed his shot and dragged the chance wide.
The home side continued to look the stronger of the two sides as Maidstone were struggling to get into any rhythm and it wasn’t long before Worgan was called into action. Eastmond hit a drive from just outside the area which threatened to creep inside the post but Worgan got down well to bundle the ball wide.
But it was no surprise when Sutton finally went ahead on 35 minutes. The home side broke quickly from a Maidstone corner through Kevin Amankwaah and Taylor and Wright timed his run to beat the offside trap and send a low effort just past Worgan who came close to making the save.
Then seconds later, the U’s nearly doubled their lead. The ball dropped to Eastmond who was just outside his own box and seeing Worgan off his line, he attempted to lob the Maidstone keeper but with Worgan scrambling back towards his goal, the ball dropped onto roof of the net.
It wasn’t until the half time interval was approaching that Maidstone finally threatened. First of all, Josh Hare connected with a Jai Reason corner but headed wide before Delano Sam-Yorke saw an overhead kick go wide. Then with the game in stoppage time, Jamie Butler had to be alert to push Joe Pigott’s free-kick behind.
Not long after the break, Taylor headed a free-kick from Wright inches over before Hines and Paxman were introduced to the game. And with 67 minutes gone, Hines hit a lovely back spinning corner into the box which Magnus Okuonghae headed into the net.
Just seven minutes later, the Stones went in front. Once again Hines was involved as he moved the ball across the edge of the box to Pigott. Pigott then touched it on into the path of Paxman and he hit a terrific rising shot which flew past the stranded Butler in the Sutton goal.
Substitute Moses Emmanuel hit a shot on the turn which Worgan had to stop before Maidstone went close again. Paxman found Pigott who had his back to goal and he found it difficult to turn into space in order to shoot and when he did, Butler managed to scramble the ball wide.
But Pigott was not to be denied again though as he broke his mini goal scoring drought in style. Sam-Yorke was involved as the ball was worked forwards and into Pigott. The Maidstone striker still had plenty to do as he moved into the box but from a tight angle he sent a delightful chip over Butler to seal an excellent afternoon for the Stones.
Sutton United: Tommy Wright 35
Maidstone United: Magnus Okuonghae 67, Jack Paxman 74, Joe Pigott 82
Sutton United: 26. Jamie Butler, 2. Kevin Amankwaah, 3. Aswad Thomas, 5. Louis John, 6. Jamie Collins, 8. Kenny Davis (22. Simon Walton 63), 14. Craig Dundas, 15. Craig Eastmond, 16. Nicky Bailey, 20. Tommy Wright (11. Kieron Cadogan 68), 23. Josh Taylor (21. Moses Emmanuel 69). Subs not used: 24. Anthony Jeffrey, 29. Seb Brown.
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 2. Josh Hare, 6. Magnus Okuonghae, 5. Alex Wynter, 13. Joe Anderson, 11. Tom Wraight (27. Zavon Hines 54), 14. Jai Reason, 4. Reece Prestedge (10. Jack Paxman 58), 8. Stuart Lewis, 9. Delano Sam-Yorke, 32. Joe Pigott. Subs not used: 16. Seth Nana-Twumasi, 17. Harley Willard, 23. Jack Richards.
Who was your man of the match against Sutton United?
- Zavon Hines (41%, 94 Votes)
- Stuart Lewis (14%, 33 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (12%, 27 Votes)
- Joe Pigott (9%, 21 Votes)
- Magnus Okuonghae (8%, 18 Votes)
- Jai Reason (5%, 12 Votes)
- Alex Wynter (3%, 6 Votes)
- Delano Sam-Yorke (2%, 5 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (2%, 4 Votes)
- Josh Hare (1%, 3 Votes)
- Joe Anderson (1%, 2 Votes)
- Reece Prestedge (1%, 2 Votes)
- Tom Wraight (0%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 228