Leaders Maidstone End K’s Unbeaten Run
Kingstonian have made a broadly encouraging start to their season but it has already become apparent that to win promotion they will somehow have to tame one of the two dominant sides who are already beginning to look like the irresistible force and the immovable object.
Maidstone United showed the gap that Ks have to breach with a dominant 4-1 win, maintaining a two point gap over big-spending Margate who sit hot on their heels thanks to the league’s top goalscorer Ryan Moss.
Ks looked well-organised in the first half and got to the break at 0-0 but after Ben Greenhalgh’s 49th minute strike they lost their shape chasing a way back into the game and were severely punished.
The Stones had the best of the opening period with Frannie Collin heading narrowly over from a corner and Rob Tolfrey doing well to beat out a Matt Bodkin drive. Tolfrey also did well to deny Tom Mills before Ks’ best spell came towards the end of the first half with Daniel Sweeney involved in two chances.
First he hit the crossbar with an impressive curled shot from distance he then forced Lee Worgan to make a smart save following a quick free kick.
Maidstone nearly took the lead on the stroke of half time only for Tolfey to repel an Alex Flisher effort but five minutes after the break they broke the deadlock. Ks failed to clear the ball in a goalmouth scramble and Greenhalgh pounced to blast home from close range.
At this point Tommy Williams removed Sweeney, who appeared to be suffering an injury, and replaced him with Chris Henry. The enforced change cost Ks the disciplined shape that had underpinned the solid first half display and Maidstone became dominant.
Tolfrey saved well from Collin but the game was over as a contest on 71 minutes when Flisher held off Sam Page and fired the ball into Tolfrey’s far corner. Five minutes later Collin got in on the act, blasting past Tolfrey to make Ks fear for their goal difference.
Ks did manage one bright spot in the half, an impressive goal for Andre McCollin who interchanged neatly with Tommy Kavanagh on the edge of the Stones box before firing past Worgan.
Any hope of the sort of late heroics that saw Ks beat Maidstone with a last-minute Gary MacDonald winner four seasons ago – a game witnessed by precious few of the 1,646 crammed into the Gallagher Stadium – quickly came to nothing though.
Page headed over from a corner and the last word fell to the home side who made it 4-1 when Greenhalgh slammed home his second of the game. Williams can have much to be proud of from his first month in charge but there is clearly much more work to do before Ks can match the best the division has to offer.
Match report by Simon Grier.