Maidstone United 2-2 Concord Rangers
Maidstone United 2-2 Concord Rangers

Maidstone United continued their unbeaten start to the season, with a highly entertaining 2-2 draw against Concord Rangers at the Gallagher on Saturday.

The top of the table clash saw both sides take the lead at stages and each team reduced to 10 in this all-action affair, the Stones will feel the more disappointed of the two not to win however this is now the Kent side’s best start to a season since 2005.

Joan Luque put United ahead before Daniel Green and Lemar Reynolds netted for Concord, then Rangers goalkeeper Myles Roberts saw red, Sam Corne equalised and Maidstone’s Taylor Curran was dismissed.

Concord almost went ahead after three minutes, George Elokobi’s error allowed Temi Babalola in on goal but fortunately, for the ex Wolves defender, Tom Hadler was quick off his line to clear the danger.

The Stones then came close to breaking the deadlock when Dominic Odusanya’s shot was blocked and from inside the six yard box Luque smashed over.

The Spanish winger made amends midway through the half with a superb goal, Roarie Deacon playing the ball to Luque who dropped a shoulder to fool the Concord defence and then rifled home his fourth league goal of the season.

Luque continued to torment the Beachboys and could have made it 2-0 but he shot just wide after tricking his way past Randell.

On the stroke of half time, totally against the run of play Rangers levelled, former Charlton winger Daniel Green hit a stunning freekick past Hadler who, despite getting a hand to it, could not prevent the equaliser.

Buoyant from their goal Concord went ahead on the hour, Reynolds beat Curran for pace down the left and hit a low shot past Hadler.

Then came Roberts’ moment of madness, cautioned earlier on for handball the Beachboys stopper again rushed out his area and this time fouled the tireless Christie Pattison and saw red. With no goalkeeper on the bench it was defender Joe Payne who went inbetween the sticks.

From the resulting set piece Regan Booty tried his luck and hit the Concord bar, Pattison himself went close minutes later as it was one way traffic from then onwards.

Luque was sent through on goal but fired straight at Payne and from the resulting corner substitute Pavey headed wide.

With 83 gone the Stones made it all square, Gavin Hoyte’s ball was knocked down by Pavey for Corne to calmly tuck home on his first appearance of the season.

United pushed for a winner and Pavey’s header ratled the woodwork the 93rd minute and that proved to be the final chance of the game.

Deep in stoppage time Curran received his marching orders denying Green when breaking clear, the final action of an absolutely enthralling contest.

Man of the Match: Joan Luque

Maidstone United: Tom Hadler, Gavin Hoyte (Yellow 80), George Elokobi (C), Taylor Curran (Yellow 64) (Red 90) , Joan Luque, Dominic Odusanya (Alfie Pavey 72) Regan Booty, Jake Gallagher (Yellow 19) (Sam Corne 69), Christie Pattison (Jermaine McGlashan 83), Jerome Binnom-Williams, Roarie Deacon.

Scorers: Joan Luque (24). Sam Corne (83).

Concord Rangers: Myles Roberts (Yellow 61) (Red 65), Tosan Popo, Joe Payne, Aron Pollock (C), Ollie Kensdale, Ryan Blackman (Jake Peck 90), James Blanchfield (Odei Martin 74), Temi Babalola (Ross Crane 69), Daniel Green, Lemar Reynolds, Jayden Randell.

Scorers: Daniel Green (45+2). Lemar Reynolds (60).

Attendance: 2,023