Hastings United 0-2 Maidstone United - Stones get campaign off to winning start

Saturday 19th August 2006

Ryman League Division One South
Saturday 19th August 2006
Stephen McCartney reports from the Pilot Field

Brave right-back Nathan Paul was given the all-clear by doctors on the eve of Maidstone United’s Ryman League Division One South debut - helping the ten-man Kent League double winners to defeat Hastings United today.

The former Beckenham Town star made the national headlines during the close season after being stabbed in the arm on a night out, but joint-manager Lloyd Hume praised him for showing courage - and putting on an outstanding display.

“We had Nathan Paul play right-back today and I thought he was outstanding, considering he’s not had one training session or one game up until today,” a proud Hume told www.kentishfootball.co.uk after the match.

“I think out of everyone if I picked out a man-of-the-match, because I know the circumstances, Nathan Paul was outstanding.”

But it was an excellent team performance from everyone in a Maidstone United strip - both on and off the pitch.

Stones fans started flocking through the turnstiles around two hours before kick-off and from ten to three, passionately supported their heroes.

Hastings United fans, who saw their team remain unbeaten on home soil for the last six games of last season, were stunned into silence.

Maidstone United handed debuts to Slovakian goalkeeper Michal Czanner, whose recently played for Tonbridge Angels and Tunbridge Wells, left-back Kane Rice, whose signed from Cambridge City but striker Jason Batt, whose signed from local British Energy Kent County League side Bearsted, remained on the bench.

But midfielder Nick Barnes, signed from Tonbridge Angels, is currently serving his second match of his three game ban, and another former Angel, striker Leroy Huggins returns from his holiday tomorrow.

The east Sussex side, meanwhile, handed debuts to former Ashford Town midfielder Adam Mountford (Brighton & Hove Albion), Dean Smith (Eastbourne Borough), substitute Kevin Rose (Sidley United) and a goalkeeper we all know in west Kent, Matt Bromby.

Bromby helped the reserve side at Tonbridge Angels collect two pieces of silverware last season, and was also a key member of Tunbridge Wells’ Kent League side under former boss Kevin Metcalf.

But the Tonbridge based goalkeeper played a part in both the Stones’ goals - scored by strikers Mo Takalobighashi and Lynden Rowland.

Takalobighashi broke the deadlock ten minutes before the interval from a twice taken spot kick.

Aaron Lacy’s cross from the right found substitute Jason Barton at the far post and his shot was handled by Rhys Whyborne and referee Mr John O’Brien pointed to the spot.

But Takalobighashi’s poorly taken right-footed free kick was saved comfortably by Bromby, diving to his left, but the assistant saw an infringement by the goalkeeper and the Wimbledon Park based referee ordered a retake.

This time Takalobighashi, who fought off competition from Jim Strouts to take the second spot kick, sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to the delight of the Stones’ faithful in the 721 crowd.

But Maidstone could have taken the lead after 14 minutes when Mario Celaire, the artist formerly known as Mario Celaire, headed Aaron Lacy’s right-footed cross wide.

The east Sussex side should have taken the lead eleven minutes later as they squandered their best chance.

Sam Adams’ pace got him past Rice and into the penalty area but should have done better with his 12-yard shot, which whistled past the left post.

But the travelling faithful were celebrating after 35 minutes when Takalobighashi, who was praised by Hume for his work-rate after Strouts’ 74th minute sending off, opened his Ryman League account.

The Arrows created a couple of late first half chances. Adams cut a corner to the unmarked Russell Eldridge, whose left-footed drive from 25-yards flashed just past the far post and Eldridge turned provider when his left-wing cross found John Bradley, who stabbed wide of the near post.

The Stones thought they had doubled their lead within 146 seconds into the second half.

Takalobighashi had a second goal ruled out for handball, although the former Margate and Ramsgate striker pleaded his innocence despite turning Nick Hegley’s low cross, who cut in from the left flank to the by-line, into the bottom left hand corner.

But a howler from Bromby, who leaked five goals for their Stones in their pre-season defeat at Thamesmead Town last month, wrapped up the victory on the hour mark.

Receiving a back-pass from his skipper Sean Ray, Bromby chested the ball, which rolled off his arms and went straight to Rowland outside the box.

Prolific strikers don’t squander gifts like this, and roared towards goal by the passionate Stones’ faithful, burst into the penalty area, rounded Bromby and slotted the ball into the empty net.

Midfielder Strouts almost got on the score sheet but his header fell into Bromby’s grateful arms, whose goal was defended by numerous defenders in a crowded six-yard box.

Hastings went close when Eldridge’s volley curled just over the top of the far post but Maidstone were reduced to ten-men with fourteen minutes remaining.

Strouts, who was booked earlier in the second half, brought down Eldridge on the edge of the penalty area on the right hand side after Eldridge exchanged a one-two with Ade Olorunda following a corner.

But Hastings couldn’t find their way past a resilient defence and Czanner dealt with everything that came his way.

And the one time he was beaten was when he was barged into the net by Olorunda as the Slovakian goalkeeper collected a looping header. The goal was ruled out - and quite right too!”

Kent’s dominance in this division is evident tonight with Dartford, Dover Athletic, Sittingbourne, Cray Wanderers and Maidstone United sitting proudly in the top five.

“I’m delighted with the result,” beamed Hume. “It’s the opening day of the season, we’ve got three points away from home and I’m very proud of the players today because we had a lot of injuries, we had injuries through the game, and we had a pretty make shift team by the end of it.

“But all the players knew their jobs, they stuck to it and we got a result we deserved.”

Hume revealed Sam Tydeman, who was replaced at half-time, was suffering with a dead leg, and Neil Miller, who lasted just 32 minutes, was too tired to continue.

“In the second half I don’t really remember them having a shot on target and our keeper having to make a save,” said Hume.

“I was delighted with our defending performance and that’s right from the forwards to the centre halves but more importantly I was happy that we kept our shape even though we had so many injuries.”

Hume, who shares the management role with Alan Walker, was pleased that his strikers got off the mark.

“I said before the game nothing would make me happier than a clean sheet and both my centre forwards score and that was how it turned out,” he said.

“I couldn’t be happier and I’m delighted for them. They worked very hard today and when we went down to ten-men for the last 15 minutes we asked Mo, whose not the hardest worker but he’s one of the most talented, to drop into midfield and he did really work hard for us.”

* More interviews from this match following on Sunday.

Hastings United: Matt Bromby, Matt Piper, Jimmy Elford (Kevin Rose 76), Rhys Whyborne, Sean Ray (Capt), Dean Smith (Danny Spice 72), Sam Adams, Adam Mountford (Danny Ellis 66), Ade Olorunda, John Bradley, Russell Eldridge.
Subs: Dominic Cruttenden, Sam Harris-Green.


Maidstone United: Michal Czanner, Kane Rice, Nathan Paul , Neil Miller (Jason Barton 32), Aaron Lacy, Jim Strouts (Capt), Sam Tydeman (Simon Austin 45), Mo Takalobighashi, Lynden Rowland, Nick Hegley.
Subs: Jason Batt, Andy Hart, Pat Mullin.

Goals: Mo Takaloo 35 (pen), Lynden Rowland 60

Sent off: Jimmy Strouts 76

Attendance: 721
Referee: Mr John O’Brien (Wimbledon Park)
Assistants: Mr Frederick Davis (Burgess Hill) & Mr Daniel Robathan (Dorking)