The Stones put the disappointment of the narrow defeat to Chelmsford firmly behind them as they scored four goals on their travels for only the second time this season to defeat a poor East Thurrock United team.
With the home side forced to field defender Steve Ward in goal in the first half and Steve Pashley after the break, if Maidstone had not managed to win this game then their chances of survival in the Ryman Premier League would have looked slim.
However, The Stones made hard work of their victory as they blew a two goal lead but the introduction of Conor Hagan and Alex Tiesse following the equaliser was to prove decisive as Tiesse scored his second league goal of the season and Hagan set up the fourth goal for Chris Smalling.
It was the home side who had the first opportunity of the afternoon on nine minutes when Ian Selley conceded a free-kick and the ball was played to Steve Wareham who turned and shot wide of the left hand post.
But just one minute later, The Rocks were made to suffer for being forced to play a central defender in goal. A clearance from Steve Northwood was headed inside by Aaron Lacy to Nathan Paul who slipped the ball to Selley and his drive from close to the corner of the area went in off West’s foot at the near post.
For only the third time inside nine games, The Stones found themselves in front and unlike in the matches against Hendon and Harlow Town, the visitors did not squander their advantage within minutes of the restart.
On 27 minutes Kris Newby’s free-kick was punched by Northwood and Ashley Dumas picked up the loose ball on the edge of the area but his shot dropped over the bar.
Then nine minutes later, Maidstone doubled their lead when Ray Freeman, starting his first game since the start of February, was tripped in the area and Selley confidently converted the resultant penalty.
However, The Stones’ comfortable lead did not last for long as with half time just two minutes away, Maidstone’s defence briefly fell asleep allowing Max Cornhill to reduce the deficit as he fired the ball low into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
East Thurrock emerged from the break a more confident side and they began to impose themselves on the visitors. With Maidstone sitting back and trying to defend in numbers it was not a surprise when The Rocks forced an equaliser on 56 minutes when West, relieved from goalkeeping duties by Pashley, headed the ball past Northwood.
Having come back from two goals down, the impetus should have been with East Thurrock but strangely the home side once again lost their way. By now, Maidstone had withdrawn Freeman and Takaloo for Hagan and Tiesse and it was Tiesse who was to have an immediate impact as he latched onto a header from Craig Roser and burst into the box before despatching a neat finish into the far side of the net.
With 19 minutes remaining, Maidstone then made sure of the vital victory when Selley sent a deep free-kick into the area which was picked up by Hagan and he put a perfect cross onto the head of Smalling who scored his first senior goal for The Stones.
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