MAIDSTONE UNITED vs CRAY WANDERERS
Robert Dyas League Cup: 1st Round
Maidstone United 4
Jordan 18 (p),
Akrofi 53, Jordan 62
King 90 (p)
Cray Wanderers 2
Welford 5, 7
The Wands gave a good account of themselves and gave holders and high flying Maidstone United a real contest before a late penalty sealed the game for the home side. The Wands went two nil up in the first seven minutes before a rather harsh sending off of Gary Beckett saw Cray having to play the last seventy minutes with ten men.
From the side that played at Heybridge on Saturday, the Wands gave a debut to Qudus Bolaji in midfield, Nick Taylor in goal for Darren Behcet, Gary Beckett came in at left back, Kerry Kedze and Max Fitzgerald returned in place of Jeff Allen, Nick Humphrey, Hussein Isa and Tom O’Connor. Maidstone, top of the Ryman Premier League played many of their fringe players but was still a fairly strong team on paper.
The Wands made an excellent start to the game looking to pass the ball and get forward and looked well at home on the 3G pitch. The Wands almost scored straight away when Steve Springett’s corner was met by the head of ex Stone, Michael Phillips but his effort was saved by Will Godman.
Cray took the lead on 5 minutes when another two ex-Maidstone men, Adrian Stone teed up Shaun Welford who struck a fine shot from just outside the box which nestled in the bottom corner of the net. The goal was received with warm applause from the home supporters.
Unbelievably, two minutes later Cray went two up when Gary Beckett’s cross from the left was rather flapped at by the home keeper and Welford tapped home a simple finish. Not long after Shaun hit a shot which went wide.
Maidstone with new signing Alex Akrofi from Brentwood looking lively started to come into the game and Akrofi was denied a shooting chance by a fine last ditch tackle from CJ Williams-Agunabor.
The game was to turn however in the 17th minute when Akrofi’s pace took him into the box and Beckett brought him down for a penalty. However, referee Nick Dunn deemed Beckett to be the last man and sent him off. Alex Brown then despatched the penalty comfortably.
Maidstone almost levelled when Charley Robertson split the Wands defence with a fine pass to Akrofi who was denied by a great stop from Taylor.
Despite being a man down, Cray managed to safely see out the first half with few alarms.
Half Time: 1-2
The second half was always going to be a tough ask for the Wands to hang on so long. Kedze almost put Cray further ahead when his cross shot went just wide. This was a rare foray into the Maidstone half however as the home side were on top for much of the time.
Maidstone levelled the scores on 53 minutes when Bradley Jordan jinked his way down the right and his cross picked out Akrofi to finish calmly from close range.
The home side then took the lead on 62 minutes when Robertson’s excellent cross from the left fell to Bradley Jordan who in space inside the box squeezed home a decent shot in off the post to put Maidstone 3-2 ahead.
Akrofi almost scored again but his shot from outside the area was tipped spectacularly over the bar by Taylor. The same player was also foiled by Taylor again a few minutes later with a smart stop.
The Wands started to get a bit more joy in the closing stages of the match and two free kicks could have led to a goal. First Hussein Isa’s kick floated into the box and Welford lashed the ball over the crossbar. Then another free kick from Hussein was nodded wide by CJ.
With the game going into added on time, Maidstone were awarded another penalty this time when Marlon Patterson brought down Liam King and King struck home the penalty to seal the game for Maidstone but only after an almighty fright.
Cray: Nick Taylor, Gary Beckett, Steve Springett, Max Fitzgerald, CJ Williams-Agunabor,
Qudus Bolaji, Kerry Kedze, Michael Phillips (Capt.) (Hussein Isa, 72), Shaun
Welford, Adrian Stone (Shawn Beveney, 66), Marlon Patterson: Subs: Jeff Allen,
Baris Bozyigit, Darren Behcet
Sent Off: Beckett 17
Booked: Williams-Agunabor, Phillips
Maidstone: Will Godman, Phil Starkey, Alife Kitt (Richard Davies, 70), Jamie Coyle (Capt.), Ben Swift, Aidan Hayes (Charlie Munnery, 78), Bradley Jordan, Alex Brown, Mark Lovell (Liam King, 84), Alex Akrofi, Charley Robertson
Referee: Nick Dunn
Assistants: Michael Marsh, Ivan Gelov