Maidstone United 4 Thamesmead Town 0
Zac Attwood (right) is congratulated by Frannie Collin after making it 2-0
Maidstone moved up to second in the Ryman League Premier Division with a comprehensive win over Kent rivals Thamesmead on Tuesday night.
The visitors were guilty of some charitable defending at the Gallagher Stadium but the Stones played some fantastic football and were a class above Keith McMahon's side.
Maidstone came into the game having drawn 4-4 with Harrow Borough three days earlier. In the only change to their starting XI, Jerrome Sobers replaced Graeme Andrews in central defence.
Less than a minute had elapsed when the Stones opened the scoring in controversial fashion. Alex Flisher hurled in a long throw from the right and Sobers bundled the ball over the line, only for the assistant's flag to cut short the celebrations.
However, after a lengthy discussion between the officials, the goal was awarded - to the fury and bemusement of the visiting players.
It should have been 2-0 moments later. Frannie Collin slid a pass into Flisher's feet but the winger failed to control his shot and the ball sailed over the bar from 12 yards.
Jerrome Sobers celebrates
Thamesmead looked shell-shocked, yet they could have equalised in what was a frantic opening. Theo Fairweather-Johnson's right-wing cross took a deflection and wrong-footed Stones keeper Lee Worgan, the ball ending up in the side netting.
The pace of the game slowed as the first half wore on.
Danny Phillips tried his luck for Mead with a free-kick from 35 yards. The strike was accurate and curled towards the top corner, but it lacked the power to beat Worgan, who made a routine save.
Set-pieces looked like being Thamesmead's best route to goal. Javilon Campbell's free-kick from 25 yards took a deflection and Worgan had to adjust his feet, although he had little trouble gathering the spinning ball.
But it was Maidstone who struck the next blow; a stunningly simple goal 10 minutes before the interval.
Steve Watt launched a long ball out of defence and Thamesmead took leave of their defensive duties, allowing Zac Attwood the space to take a touch and rifle the ball powerfully beyond goalkeeper Robert Budd.
Tyrus Gordon-Young lacked Attwood's killer instinct at the other end when Thamesmead looked to be in for an immediate retaliatory strike. Gordon-Young had a clear sight of goal but delayed his shot and that brief hesitation allowed Flisher to make an excellent blocking tackle.
The second half was 15 minutes old before either side registered a serious effort on goal. Even then, Campbell's wild shot was well off target for the visitors.
Maidstone were coasting and they went further in front on 66 minutes. Alex Brown played a pass into the feet of Collin, who punished more loose defending to make it 3-0 with a ruthless finish.
The home crowd were still enjoying that goal when the Stones almost scored a memorable fourth. Collin's clever flick bamboozled his man, Flisher latched onto the pass and crossed low for Attwood, whose shot deflected just past the post. Applause rang around the Gallagher.
Alex Brown goes past Mead's Tyrus Gordon-Young (Pics: Martin Apps)
Thamesmead were on the ropes. Flisher switched to the right wing and his next cross was again met by Attwood, who forced a smart save from Budd.
Collin had the ball in the net for a second time, converted a perfectly-weighted Flisher pass - but the flag was up for offside.
With time running out, substitute Fabio Saraiva scored the best goal of the night; a left-footed shot from 20 yards which ripped into the roof of the net.
It summed up the gulf in quality between the sides and sent the Stones supporters home with smiles on their faces.
Thamesmead, meanwhile, are second-bottom in the Ryman Premier, having picked up just four of a possible 33 points so far.
Both clubs are in FA Cup second qualifying round action on Saturday. Maidstone travel to Merstham, while Thamesmead host Sittingbourne.
Maidstone: Worgan, Davies, Mills, Watt, Sobers, Phillips, Smith (Hill 67mins), Brown (Saraiva 72mins), Attwood (Booth 82mins), Collin, Flisher. Subs not used: Lye, Andrews.
Thamesmead: Budd, Hopkins, Porter, Pennant (Main 76mins), Tozer, Donovan, Roberts, D Phillips (Bankole 87mins), Gordon-Young, Campbell, Fairweather-Johnson. Subs not used: Scarborough, Butler, Carter.
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