Goals from Delano Sam-Yorke and Jack Paxman earned Maidstone all three points at the Gallagher Stadium. United equalized in the 63rd minute through Brett Williams but a missed penalty by the forward later in the second half cost the Gulls a way back into the match.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Woking seven days ago. Jamie Reid and Bournemouth loanee Jordan Lee made way for the returning Luke Young and Paul Rooney. Young was making his first start since an anterior collateral ligament injury sustained against Tranmere in late November. Paul Rooney returned to the starting line-up to his unfamiliar role at right-back.
Maidstone started well, and United struggled to catch their breath as the Stones took the game to them. Sam-Yorke had a good opportunity in the 1st minute as a long ball over the top caught United napping. Luckily the Gulls avoided going behind as the forward shot wide. It was an early let-off.
Further chances for Maidstone in the 2nd and 5th minutes contributed to a nervous start. Taylor was Maidstone’s main danger man in the first half. Moore spread himself well to smother his first opportunity but Taylor was culpable for his second chance when his shot went wide of the far post.
United were threatening sporadically. An effort from Richards in the 8th minute was pushed back into danger by Worgan. The ball fell to Young who sent his effort well over the bar. The ball nearly fell to Harrad inside Maidstone’s box in the 13th minute but united were starting to buckle under the strain.
Further chances for Jamar Loza, who was a one of the best players on the pitch in the 1st half, and Taylor kept United on the back foot.
While Maidstone were creating decent chances, United had little momentum. In the 21st minute Harrad went close with a snap shot and then a shot by Verma took some deflections and whistled past the far post. That paled into significance compared to the chance that Maidstone spurned in the 18th minute when Jamar Loza collected a cutback from Taylor and looked odds on to score. Luckily United survived.
United needed to keep the ball better and to start firing in attack in the second half. Unfortunately it was Maidstone that took the lead.
A Jamar Loza cutback allowed Delano Sam-Yorke to prod the ball home from around 10 yards in the 53rd minute.
Kevin Nicholson looked to his bench to get United back into the game, and that’s exactly what happened. A double substitution straight after Maidstone took the lead resulted in United's equalizer. Shaun Harrad and Luke Young were replaced by Jamie Reid and Brett Williams.
Williams had an immediate impact on the match when he collected a long ball, beat defender Coyle, and sent the ball over Worgan to get his fourth goal of the season.
The goal energized United and in the next five minutes they looked a different side. However they were soon to concede a second. Lozar cut in from the wing and when his shot was parried by Moore the Paxman was there to take advantage and put Maidstone back into the lead.
Maidstone were back on top but United were to earn another chance to claim a point.
Williams had been a menace since his introduction and he proved too much for Maidstone defender Acheampong who’s messy challenge earned United a penalty.
Unfortunately, Maidstone ‘keeper Worgan guessed the right way and saved Williams’s placed shot. It wasn’t the best penalty Williams has ever taken, and it turned out to be United’s last chance to take something from the game.