Maidstone United 2 Hythe Town 1 - Stones chairman: I now have keys to new stadium

Wednesday 29th March 2006

Mario Celaire 36
Mo Takaloo 70

Damien Abel 49

Maidstone United win 4-2 on aggregate

Kentish Observer League Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Stephen McCartney reports from Bourne Park

Maidstone United booked their place in the Kentish Observer League Cup final on the day their chairman, Paul Bowden-Brown announced he has paid the £90,000 MOD Lease Premium, and possesses the keys to their new stadium at James Whatman Way in the County Town.

The Stones face VCD Athletic - who defeated Herne Bay 2-1 on aggregate - in the showpiece final, which will be played on Saturday, 29th April, at Folkestone Invica’s Buzzlines Stadium at Cheriton Road.

Writing in tonight’s match day programme, Mr Bowden-Brown revealed: “I have had a very hectic timetable during the last seven days. Firstly with the FA inspection (at Bourne Park) and secondly ensuring that the legalities of the lease were completed during this week.”

He added: “I am pleased to inform you that I have now achieved both of these tasks.

“As I have stated above the FA grading is now complete and the MOD Lease, together with all the other legal documentation, has now been signed by Richard and myself and finally been officially stamped by the MOD.

“I have now paid the £90,000 MOD Lease Premium, due on completion, and the keys of James Whatman Way are now in my possession.

“So some two years to the day since I originally signed the first MOD Heads of Agreement - 25th March 2004, Maidstone United Football Club now hold a 99-year lease on James Whatman Way and can now officially start to prepare to build the new stadium and ensure that we can return home hopefully for the season 2007-2008.

“This is the first step of a long journey but at least we have reached this stage after a number of serious delays, mainly caused by bureaucrats with their own agendas.

“This has caused a massive overrun on legal and professional costs that has totally frustrated my advisors and personally caused me many sleepless nights - resulting in further decline of my personal health - but in the end I feel it was well worth it!

“I knew it was going to be a challenge those 14 years ago!”

Tonight, though was a double celebration for the club as they booked their place into the Kentish Observer League Cup Final - but it was their visitors, Hythe Town that tried to reduce their 2-1 first leg deficit early on.

Dean Widnall came closest to opening the scoring, within the opening three minutes, but his fierce drive from the edge of the penalty area was tipped onto the bar by Stones’ stopper, Pat Mullin.

Then Roy Guiver chipped over the bar and Widnall’s left-footed shot from ten yards bounced wide of the far post and Damien Abel’s right-footed effort was comfortably saved by Mullin.

Maidstone’s first chance came on 20 minutes when Mario Celaire powered a header from the centre circle, which was flicked on by Lyndon Rowland but Lee Sperring’s shot was comfortably dealt with by Paul Rogers in the Hythe goal.

Referee Mr Joss made a bizarre decision soon after when he awarded the Stones a goal kick, although Brazier’s free kick clearly struck the Stones’ wall before going just wide of the right post.

Sperring received Jason Barton’s low cross from the left but smashed his shot just wide of the right upright before the Stones took the lead nine minutes before the break.

It was route one but affective. Aaron Lacy launched a throw, from close to the corner flag, towards the near post and Celaire rose to nod past a diving Rogers and inside the near post from eight yards to score his fifth goal of the season.

Sperring, who was later replaced by Mo Takaloo, cut inside his marker but his 20-yard left-footed drive rolled comfortably into Rogers’ grateful arms.

But blonde haired striker Damien Abel brought Hythe back into the game just four minutes into the second half - scoring his 12th goal of the season.

Cutting in from the left, leaving Ryan Royston in his wake, the impressive striker drove across Mullin with a right-footed shot from 16-yards, and into the far corner,

Just on the hour mark, though, Maidstone almost increased their lead but Celaire - who met Sam Tydeman’s corner with a powerful header - saw it fly over Rogers’ head but was nodded over the bar by Adam Todd on the goal line.

Slack marking though allowed Takaloo to score his 37th goal of the season with 20 minutes remaining.

Tydeman played a quickly taken free kick from the right towards the former Ramsgate striker at the near post, who, unmarked, stroked home from six-yards.

Rowland had a goal ruled out for offside late on and just as the final whistle blew, Maidstone’s Scott Lindsey and Brazier kicked out at each other, which resulted in a melee.

Instead of allowing all the players to walk off towards the dressing rooms, Mr Joss spoke to both his assistants and then showed straight red cards to both Lindsey and Brazier.

* We shall bring you post match interviews with Stones’ boss Lloyd Hume and his Hythe Town counterpart Paul Fisk follows.

Maidstone United: Pat Mullin, Aaron Lacy (Jimmy Strouts 62), Jason Barton, Scott Lindsey, Mario Celaire, Ryan Royston (Andy Hart 76), Nathan Paul, Sam Tydeman, Lee Sperring (Mo Takaloo 62), Lynden Rowland, Nick Hegley.
Subs: Lloyd Hume, Richard Mannerings.

Sent off: Scott Lindsey 90

Hythe Town: Paul Rogers, Dan Fisk, Adam Todd, Roy Guiver, Terry King, Dean Widnall, Jason Brazier, Ian Hayes, Damien Abel, Richard Sinden, Lee Winfield (Steve Sallis 76).
Subs: Darren Walmsley, Keiron Bryne Scott Porter, Nick Day.

Sent off: Jason Brazier 90

Attendance: 241
Referee: Mr R Joss
Assistants: Mr P Bing & Mr R French

* What are your views on another new stadium being built in Kent?  What are your aspirations for the club in the near future?  Are you a loyal supporter that has seen the ups-and downs of the Stones - we'd love to hear your views - please click on "Contact us" and leave your name and we'll be delighted to publish them. would like to congratulate everyone involved in helping the Stones return home!