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Maidstone United 2 Wrexham 1 match report

By Craig Tucker

Academy graduate Jack Richards scored the winner on his first National League start as Maidstone beat nine-man Wrexham.

United trailed to Alex Reid’s early header but quickly levelled through defender Alex Wynter.

Teenager Richards made it 2-1 with a lovely strike before half-time but went off injured just after the break.

Delight for Jack Richards after his first Maidstone goal Picture: Andy Jones
Delight for Jack Richards after his first Maidstone goal Picture: Andy Jones

Wrexham had two men sent off by referee Sam Allison within seconds of each other as Maidstone were awarded a penalty - Manny Smith for the foul and Mark Carrington for disputing it - but Joe Pigott’s spot-kick was saved.

United dominated against nine men for the last 15 minutes, completing their first win of the season.

Richards threatened in the first minute, his curling strike plucked out of the air by keeper Christian Dibble when found by Tom Wraight on the edge of the box.

With Richards heavily involved from the left, Maidstone dominated early on, chances falling to Reece Prestedge and Delano Sam-Yorke.

But having barely been out of their half Wrexham led in the 10th minute when Scott Boden fed Paul Rutherford whose cross was headed home by on-loan Reid.

Alex Wynter heads home Maidstone's equaliser Picture: Andy Jones
Alex Wynter heads home Maidstone's equaliser Picture: Andy Jones

Maidstone were level five minutes later, the excellent Jai Reason’s free-kick from midway in the Wrexham half met by the head of Wynter for his first United goal.

The game slowed down for a spell but on 33 minutes Maidstone were in front, and what a moment for Richards.

Pigott’s free-kick hit the wall and was cleared only as far as Richards who set himself 25 yards out and drilled home low through a crowd of players.

The 18-year-old's confidence was sky-high and he showed it with a lovely flick over his head to shake off Kevin Roberts before racing in on goal and firing wide.

Roberts can’t have enjoyed that and, had he not been booked, he surely would have been tempted to bring the Stones man down.

Richards was involved again just before half-time, a deflected strike from Sam-Yorke’s lay-off going over the bar.

Great moment for Jack Richards Picture: Andy Jones
Great moment for Jack Richards Picture: Andy Jones

But his afternoon was over when he went off injured after 51 minutes, meaning a debut for former West Ham man Zavon Hines.

Dibble was smartly off his line to deny Pigott, with the Stones striker played in by Wraight just past the hour mark, and soon after Reason bent an effort past the far post.

Reid missed the target at the other end midway through the half, a rare chance for a Wrexham side who are still finding their feet after wholesale changes over the summer.

A mad few seconds saw Maidstone awarded a penalty and Wrexham reduced to nine men.

Smith, already booked, was shown a straight red for bringing down Pigott, with Carrington receiving a second yellow for his protests.

By the time the referee restored order, Pigott’s 73rd-minute spot-kick was easily saved by Dibble.

The miss was maybe still in Pigott’s mind when he blazed into the top of the North Stand soon after.

Four more chances fell his way as United looked to finish off the Dragons, including a header from a Wraight cross which was well saved by Dibble.

Maidstone: Worgan, Hare, Anderson, Okuonghae, Wynter, Richards (Hines 51mins), Reason, Prestedge, Wraight, Sam-Yorke (Paxman 84mins), Pigott. Subs not used: Twumasi, Willard, Phipps.

Attendance: 2,192 (188 away).

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