Maidstone United 0-3 Stockport County
Maidstone United 0-3 Stockport County

Kent’s interest in the Buildbase FA Trophy is over for another season as Maidstone United’s suffered a Quarter Final replay mauling at the hands of promotion chasing Stockport County.

With a two legged Semi Final against AFC Fylde awaiting the winner, the Stones never really got going let alone into first gear and were only level at the break because of some careless Stockport finishing and an inspired spell from veteran keeper Colin Lewington.

But as soon as Jake Kirby capitalised on a defensive mistake early in the second half there was sadly only going to be one winner of the tie. The only real surprise was that it took until the last ten minutes for Kirby to double the lead before Jordan Keane’s thumping stoppage time header really added the final nail on a truly frustrating evening for all concerned at the Gallagher Stadium.

It was a frustrated Hakan Hayrettin who addressed the media after the game. “We’ve got to be honest with ourselves and in most areas tonight they were better than us and we have to be honest that they probably deserved their place in the next round,” he admitted.

“Since we’ve been here, they’ve worked really hard, take away possibly the Bromley game, this was the most disappointing night we’ve had.”

“We had eleven missing tonight, and in truth I can’t see it much better for Saturday. We managed to get Blair Turgott onto the pitch tonight – a great player but did we bring him back too soon tonight because we had to? Perhaps…”

Look, the club has had a terrific run in the Trophy, but now it’s time for us to focus on the job we were brought in for and that’s trying to keep the club in the League.”

“We’ll go to Solihull on Saturday and face the fight. All of our games now are six-pointers and that’s all there is to it!”

Lewington was called into early action as he beat out Frank Mulhern’s angled shot, before the keeper clawed out Elliott Osbourne’s header (from Dan Cowan’s cross).

The chances kept coming for the visitors as skipper Paul Turnbull’s header was saved by the Stones keeper, before Lewington had an amazing let off. Sam Walker’s free kick into the box was misjudged do badly by the keeper that he so nearly punched the ball into his own net! Mulhern went close again with an angled drive that flew into the crowd.

The second half had barely begun when Stockport scored – Jarvis Edobar and Lewington got into a muddle; Mulhern’s centre was swept into an unguarded net by Kirby at the back post.

Maidstone finally got a foot hold in the game and had their best chance of the game as substitute Dan Meredith’s skimming low drive was brilliantly turned around the right post by a full length Ben Hinchcliffe – and that sadly was as close as the Stones were to come!

Thomas dragged a shot horribly wide before Walker spectacularly crashed a volley off of the frame of the goal from thirty five yards before with eight minutes to go Kirby bundled home his second and Stockport’s second to seal County’s progress and Keane’s header in stoppage time was simply the icing on a very sweet tasting Stockport cake as they now prepare to face AFC Fylde for a place in the Buildbase FA Trophy Final.

For the Stones, they’ve eleven games to make up the ten points that they’re currently short of the National League relegation line…

MAIDSTONE UNITED – Lewington, Davies, Paxman, Wishart, Cassidy, Walton (Donnellan), Muldoon (Turgott), Phillips, Donnellan, Edobar (Meredith)

Subs – Curtis Henry, Tingley

STOCKPORT COUNTY – Hinchcliffe, Cowan, Duxbury, Keane, Palmer, Turnbull, Thomas (Minihan), Walker, Mulhern (Bell), Osbourne, Kirby

Subs – Bains, Ormson, Stephenson