Gutsy Maidstone force FA Cup replay against Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
Maidstone put in a gutsy display that belied their Ryman League status to earn a deserved replay against Stevenage for a place in the second round of the FA Cup.
The Stones posed the much bigger threat in both halves at the Lamex Stadium and survived a late surge from Boro to earn a re-match at the Gallagher Stadium.
Frannie Collin, Alex Flisher and Matt Bodkin, in particular, had their 1,375 travelling fans on their feet as they put Chris Day and his back four under pressure.
The trio combined early to set up Collin but he failed to test Day. He had a chance to redeem himself two minutes later but he couldn’t direct his shot through a crowd of bodies.
After a blistering start, the Ryman Premier side lost their way as the half, surrendering possession to easily. Boro, though, seemed happy to have the ball but did little to threaten Lee Worgan in Maidstone’s goal. Too often they passed the ball to feet rather than force the team forward. When they did, though, they looked dangerous as Charlie Lee and Tom Pett whipped in dangerous crosses that were scrambled away by the Stones’ defenders who would have expected a busier first half.
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A reinvigorated Maidstone emerged for the second half and only excellent defending from first Jon Ashton and then Ronnie Henry kept Day from being tested. Flisher then flashed a dangerous strike across the face of goal as Maidstone went in search of a opener that may shock the bookmakers but not the 2,935 inside the Lamex Stadium.
Graham Westley shuffled his pack shortly after the break as Roarie Deacon and Simon Walton were part of a double substitution that saw Charlie Adams and the anonymous Dave McAllister replaced.
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Deacon added the attacking impetus that Boro had lacked in the game as he consistently beat the full-back and delivered crosses from the byline. For all his good work, though, his team-mates couldn’t take advantage of his good work as Whelpdale headed a glorious chance over the bar and Maidstone hacked the ball clear.
He tried to do it all himself in the closing minutes but his shot cannoned off the post. Beardsley headed against the bar as Boro surged forward in an effort to find a late goal but Worgan and his defenders saw out the remaining minutes and earned a draw that their gutsy performance deserved.
Stevenage starting line-up: Day. Ashton, Whelpdale, Charles, Pett, McAllister, Wells, Lee, Henry, Barnard, Adams. Subs: Beasant, Dembele, Walton, Beardsley, Okimo, Conlon, Deacon.
Maidstone starting line-up: Worgan, Coyle, Mills, Watt, Miles, Rogers, Bodkin, Parkinson, May, Collin, Flisher. Subs: Brown, Jordan, Robertson, Davies, Greenalgh, Simpson, Godmon.