Maidstone United 1
Torquay United 0
United began a important week of away fixtures with a defeat thanks to a late winner from Maidstone United’s Josh Hare.
After a bright first half and a great chance in the second, United couldn’t threaten enough to warrant all three points. A draw was on the cards until Hare struck.
United Gaffer Gary Owers brought striker Jon-Paul Pittman back into the mix by giving him a place on the bench. Bristol City loanee Connor Lemonheigh-Evans came in for his first start since joining United. Josh Gowling returned to the fold after injury with a place on the bench.
United created some chances in the first half. The best of them came when Sean McGinty got in front of his man at the near post and headed over the bar from a Luke Young corner. They also went created dangerous situations that weren’t capitalized on. One where they caught the Stones light at the back on a counter attack. A low ball into the box looked likely to to be turned in but Maidstone goalkeeper judged the situation well and smothered the ball with Dowling lurking.
Maidstone were dangerous on the counter attack, and when United allowed them too much space in midfield. On too many occasions the Stones were able to pick their final ball into the box, usually it was Blair Turgott being set momentarily free inside United’s box.
Gary Owers made a change at half-time. Josh Gowling replaced Jakub Sokolik was felt unwell leading up to the game.
Maidstone came out the brighter of the two teams. United had to defend multiple balls into their box and were still susceptible to the counter attack.
The home side were getting more and more frustrated with the decisions from referee Alan Young. There were moments of confusion when their players were convinced that a foul had gone their way, only to have to hand the ball to their opponents.
The Stones were looking the more dangerous team and were finding space and time in and around United’s box.
United’s best opportunity of the second half should have been the opening goal of the game. Romain found space inside the box, his cross found Lemonheigh-Evans who headed back across the goal. Worgan spread himself well to keep the ball out. That was United’s chance to change the game.
The Stones increased the pressure on United’s back line as the second half progressed. The introduction of Jamar Lozar was a key moment. He kept challenging United in all sorts of ways. His ability to break the lines and slipping challenges turned the game Maidstone’s way.
Goalkeeper Vincent Dorel came up with two good saves to keep United in with a chance.
Maidstone scored the winner after a period of sustained pressure on United’s box. Ross Lafayette’s header struck the bottom of the near post. Josh Hare was on hand to score past Dorel, who had no chance.
The Stones did a good job of shutting up shop in the dying minutes to restrict United mounting many chances.
The best chance for United fell to Jon-Paul Pittman who rushed a chance just before the final whistle. He had to control the ball at a difficult height, but failed to hit the target when the opportunity presented itself.
United head into Tuesday night’s visit to Brisbane Road in desperate need of three points.
Maidstone United: 1 Lee Worgan (GK), 2 Josh Hare, 3 Alex Finney, 5 Alex Wynter, 10 Jack Paxman [7 Jomar Loza 61′], 13 Joe Anderson, 14 Jai Reason, 19 Blair Turgott [4 Prestedge 90′], 22 Will De Havilland, 28 Dean Beckwith, 29 Ross Lafayette Subs Not Used: 17 Darius Osei, 35 Andre Coker, 37 Michael Phillips
Booked: Finney 10′, Beckwith 72′, Lafayette 90+4′
TUFC: 30 Vincent Dorel, 3 Liam Davis, 5 Sean McGinty, 8 Luke Young, 14 Jakub Sokolik [6 Josh Gowling HT] , 21 Aaron Barnes 22 Elliott Romain [9 Jon-Paul Pittman 80′], 24 George Dowling, 26 Conrad Balatoni, 29 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans [11 Jake Gosling 89′], 39 Brett Williams Subs not used: 1 Ryan Clarke, 19 Jamie Reid,
Booked: Balatoni 31′, Dowling 33′, Williams 90′
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 2,211 (129 away)