Thursday 01st September 2005

Walker "under no illusions" for top of the table clash

Wednesday 30th
November 2005
Kentish Observer League Cup Mike Green reports from Bourne Park
Maidstone United 3 Rowland 30,55
Strouts 49
Tunbridge Wells 2 M Ward 5, 52

Two goals from Lyndon Rowland and a third from skipper Jimmy Strouts set Maidstone United up for instant revenge over a Tunbridge Wells side that just last weekend knocked the Stones out of the Kent Senior Trophy, writes Mike Green.

Not that the home side had it all their own way as Wells dug in and never let Maidstone get away from them and will point to both of Rowlands goal perhaps being classed as fortunate as keeper John Whitehouse saw clearances twice rebound the striker’s way.

It was the visitors who struck first on five minutes - Mike Ward beating Pat Mullin at his near post after the home defence failed to clear. 

The equaliser came on the half-hour - Strouts’ through ball seemed too far in from of Rowland, but full credit to the striker who didn’t give up and was rewarded as Whitehouse’s clearance rebounded off him.  Despite loud cries of handball from the defence, Rowland was allowed to walk the ball into the empty net.

Maidstone went 2-1 up four minutes after the break when Strouts was on hand (after an anxious look over his shoulder in the direction of the Assistant Referee) to turn the ball home after Nick Hegley’s low drive had been brilliantly saved by Whitehouse. 

Back came the Wells though and were level within three minutes.  John Sinclair made the goal with a great run down the right wing - his cross wasn’t dealt with and Ward was left with the freedom of Bourne Park before firing past Mullin to level things up at 2-2.

What proved to be the winner came on 55 minutes and again it was down to Rowland not giving up a lost cause! 

Mo Takaloo helped Sam Tydeman’s through ball on and again Rowland got to the ball just as the keeper did and the ball again finished in the back of the Wells net. 

Takaloo could have had a hat trick in the remaining time but a combination of fine goal keeping and unlucky bounces denied Maidstone’s top scorer.

It may “only” have been the Kent League Cup, but it was just the fillip then that the absent Lloyd Hume would have wanted from his side as they prepare to face leaders Beckenham on Saturday and then Broxbourne in the Third Round of the FA Vase the following weekend.

One worry for assistant boss Alan Walker as he talked to me afterwards was the clash that involved skipper Strouts that led to a head bandage and his substitution with 20 minutes left. 

“He should be OK,” said Walker. “A couple of stitches and hopefully he’ll be at Beckenham on Saturday. 

"It’s a massive game for us and we need our full side out - if they win they go nine points clear of us.  If we win its down to three and we’ve got a game in hand.” 

Asked if it surprised him that Beckenham were setting such a strong pace, Walker replied “Not at all.  There’s obviously some big investment gone in there and you’re seeing the results on the pitch. 

"We’re under no illusions - it’s going to be a great game and I’m really looking forward to it!”


Maidstone United:     Mullin; Lacy; Roser; Blake; Barton; Royston; Strouts ( King 70); Tydeman; Takaloo; Rowland; Hegley. Subs:  Austin; Celaire; Mainwaring

Tunbridge Wells: Whitehouse; Brown (Balmer 45); Hilden; Hatcher (Bourne 84); Cooper; Sinclair; El Fordi; Mortimer; Hickmott (S Ward 67); Hassett; M Ward