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Maidstone United 1 East Thurrock United 1 match report

By Craig Tucker

A late goal from Zac Attwood preserved Maidstone's unbeaten home record on Saturday afternoon - but it's two points dropped in the Ryman League Premier Division play-off race.

Attwood struck five minutes from time to cancel out East Thurrock's early opener, just when it looked like the visitors were going to escape with a smash-and-grab victory.

Zac Attwood wheels away after scoring Picture: Martin Apps
Zac Attwood wheels away after scoring Picture: Martin Apps

Stones were poor in the first half but could count themselves desperately unlucky not to take all three points given their efforts after the break.

The theme of conceding poor goals struck after only three minutes with United's defence caught cold by a nothing ball down the middle that was finished by Sam Higgins.

East Thurrock showed the same qualities that saw them beat Stones earlier this month, closing down quickly and allowing Jay Saunders' men little time on the ball.

And it took a goalline clearance from Jack Parkinson to deny the visitors a second after Lee Worgan missed a far-post cross.

There were individual moments from Kiernan Hughes-Mason, Tom Mills and Elliott Cox as Stones looked to get their game going.

Jerrome Sobers hit the underside of the bar with a header from Charley Robertson's corner, Parkinson had a deflected strike from the edge of the box saved by David Hughes, while Mills hit the side-netting after collecting a Hughes-Mason pass.

Without playing well, Stones created further chances before the break.

Jack Harris battles for possession Picture: Martin Apps
Jack Harris battles for possession Picture: Martin Apps

Hughes-Mason squared for Flisher, who fired straight at the keeper, and he also blazed over after a decent run and cross from Cox.

Nervous Sobers made a recovery block after gifting the ball to East Thurrock substitute Dave Bryant early in the second half.

But Stones were soon on the attack with Jack Harris hitting the bar with a header from Flisher's corner, then substitute Frannie Collin rolled an effort wide when through on goal.

Pressure mounted with Attwood's fierce volley blocked in the six-yard box, then Michael Phillips pulled an indirect free-kick to the edge of the box for Flisher, whose strike whistled past the post.

Another Attwood effort was blocked on the line after Collin broke into the box and squared, then Collin was somehow denied at the far post after Steve Watt - making his comeback after three months out - met Flisher's long throw.

Watt got his head to most things in the box as Stones continued to knock at the door.

United's persistence finally paid off when Attwood turned on a Flisher cross and found the bottom corner with a neat finish.

Stones poured forward in search of a winner with Hughes-Mason twice denied by the keeper, as well as having an effort cleared off the line.

Maidstone: Worgan, Cox, Mills, Robertson (Collin 56mins), Sobers (Watt 65mins), Phillips (D Parkinson 74mins), Hughes-Mason, J Parkinson, Attwood, Harris, Flisher. Subs not used: Sullivan, Godmon.

Attendance: 1,731.

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