By Steve Tervet
Maidstone’s title aspirations took a knock on Saturday when their long unbeaten home run came to an end against Leatherhead.
Having not suffered a league defeat at the Gallagher Stadium since the opening day of the season, the Stones led twice but were left empty-handed after conceding two goals in the last 11 minutes.
The home side took the lead on 34 minutes when Shaun Welford delivered an excellent left-wing cross which former Gillingham midfielder Alex Brown (pictured) planted into the net.
However, Leatherhead restored parity in first-half stoppage time. Matt Smart drilled a left-foot shot across goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim and the ball nestled in the bottom corner.
Brown turned provider on 61 minutes, crossing for Stuart King to bundle Maidstone back in front.
Tanners goalkeeper Andrew Young kept his side in the game when he pushed a dipping Michael Phillips free-kick behind for a corner.
Back came Leatherhead with a second equaliser. Tom Bradbrook was a handful for the Stones defence all afternoon and his far-post header levelled the scores on 79 minutes.
The visitors poured forward in search of a winner and Maidstone looked increasingly edgy. Sure enough, Leatherhead snatched a winner. With five minutes remaining, Ibrahim clawed out one effort but he couldn’t prevent Neil Jenkins forcing the ball over the line from close range.
The Stones remain three points clear at the top of Ryman League Division 1 South but they have played two games more than second-placed Dulwich Hamlet. Leatherhead are another two points back in third.
Maidstone: Ibrahim, Osborne, Mills, T Olorunda, Andrews, Phillips, Brown, Lye (Booth 86mins), Flisher, Welford, King. Subs not used: Draycott, Hare, Woolery, Kessell. Attendance: 1,801.
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