|Saturday 14 August 2004||Go Travel Kent League Premier Division||Robert Smith reports from The Small Glen|
|Slade Green||3||Gallagher 21,34
|Maidstone United||3||Rowlands 60,
Slade Green throw it away
Slade Green skipper Tony Gallagher fired his way to joint top of the Go Travel Kent League Golden Boot standing's with two goals only to see his side toss away a 3-0 lead.
After the game, the midfielder commented: "I am absolutely gutted!
"Although we have taken a point from this game, if feels like a defeat.
"In the end the fitness of the Maidstone team proved to be a defining fact in this match.
"It is essential we bounce back at Erith Town on Monday night with a victory, which will take us to the top of the Kent League.", albeit for only 24-hours.
Slade Green opened the scoring on 21 minutes when Peter Overton failed to clear the ball and Gallagher nipped in to audaciously chip the ball over keeper Kevin Hudson.
The visitors could have been level soon afterwards but Jimmy Strouts, a summer signing from Welling United, failed to convert the rebounding ball after Lyndon Rowland curled effort bounced against the post.
This miss was punished on 34 minutes when Green doubled their lead. Following a foul on Chris Arnold, Wayne Barrett stepped up and smashed the ball into the wall and following an infringement on a Green player a second free kick was awarded. This time Gallagher stepped up to unleash a truly stunning free kick past the stranded Hudson.
The home side looked to have secured all three points 4 minutes into the second half, Ryan Hayes set out on a fine run down the left sweeping past Neil Miller and following Chris Arnold’s dummy, Hayes pass fell to Dean Bowey who in his renowned predatory fashion placed the ball inside the post.
Maidstone needed something special now and into the fray came substitutes Martin Buglione and Simon Austin both of who are prolific goalscorers at a higher level.
Within 2 minutes of their introduction Maidstone reduced the deficit as Buglione headed home from a corner.
Austin provided the ammunition for the second goal 8 minutes from time as his cross was converted by last season Golden Boot winner Richard Sinden.
Green could and should have killed the game though in the dying seconds as Ryan Hayes. making his senior football debut. found himself with time and space only to fire wide of an open goal.
This let off for the visitors only served to spur them on and in the 5th minute of injury time they leveled the scores, Paul Vines did so well to thwart Neil Miller with his legs only for the ball to fall to the feet of Jimmy Strouts who duly smashed the ball home to send both the Stones players and supporters wild and leave Green heartbroken.
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