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Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders on 2-1 defeat at Gateshead

By Craig Tucker

Jay Saunders promised to make changes after Maidstone’s latest defeat.

The Stones dropped to 16th place in the National League after losing 2-1 at Gateshead - their 13th game without a win.

A deal for a defender was put on hold before yesterday’s match but Saunders is hopeful it can be revived and he also has a midfielder and a forward lined up.

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Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture Andy Payton

Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Payton

Saunders said: “We had a centre-half done and dusted.

“He was coming today, all bar his signature, and then there was an injury at his club and they said we’re going to have to put it on hold, so we might have to wait until Wednesday.

“It’s not dead and buried. If the other lad’s a long-term injury then that one will be dead completely but he’s a good, experienced centre-half at this level that I know would have done well for us.

“There’s also a midfielder we’ve been talking to and a centre-forward, so it’s right down the spine of the team we need to freshen it.

“I’ve just said to the lads in there things are going to change because this is the worst run I’ve been on as a manager and I won’t accept it because it’s individual mistakes every week.”

Saunders was convinced Lewis McNall’s third-minute opener was offside but felt he should have been tracked regardless.

Jai Reason equalised with a penalty but saw a second spot-kick saved by substitute keeper James Montgomery - Dan Hanford had been sent off for headbutting Reason - before Ben Fox’s late free-kick winner after a foul by Magnus Okuonghae.

Saunders said: “Again it’s a case of two poor goals. My biggest gripe is the first one. The lad’s about three yards offside.

“The fourth official told me he thought he was offside, their bench then comes out at half-time, fair play to Steve Watson and his team, they’ve come out and said the lad’s about three yards offside, and the linesman doesn’t see it.

“It doesn’t get you off to a great start and then we get ourselves back into it and get in a position in the second half where I thought we’re going to go on and win this.

“We’ve had some great chances but I said it last week, the simple facts are in both boxes we’re not good enough.

“We’re missing Joe Pigott massively up front and his goals and at the other end, the second goal is rubbish.

 

“Don’t get me wrong, the lad’s taken the free-kick well but it’s just a needless free-kick on the edge of our box and we’re giving teams opportunities to punish us.

“We’ve come here and had enough chances to win a game of football but at some point you’ve got to keep a clean sheet.

“Five minutes in, whether it’s offside or not, it’s a straight ball down the middle and the lad scores and the second one we give a free-kick away that we don’t need to give away.”

Read the match report from Maidstone's 2-1 defeat at Gateshead

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