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Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders on 2-2 draw with Gateshead

By Craig Tucker

Jay Saunders said Maidstone players thought the job was done against Gateshead.

Stones led 2-0 against a Head side who had Theo Vassell sent off after only 10 minutes.

But they couldn't see it through and it finished 2-2 as United's winning run was halted.

Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture Andy Jones

Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Jones

Boss Saunders praised Gateshead but Stones only had themselves to blame.

He said: "The defending was a shambles and I thought we looked better against 11 men but full credit to Gateshead, they kept going and they worked their absolute socks off. 

"We've given them two goals but I don't want to take credit away from them because I thought they were excellent but our defending was a shambles for both goals.

"You're 2-0 up against 10 men, you've got to manage it better and with the experience we've got, I'd expect us to but we panicked.

"I thought we were excellent for the first 15/20 minutes and up until that point they had done everything we asked them to do, we looked sharp, we looked like we were causing problems.

"I think it's a mental thing. When they go to 10 men and you're 1-0 up, all of a sudden you think the job's done and we just slowed the pace of the game down. 

"Once we did that, it played into their hands because, as a team, when you're down to 10 men you want to stay in the game as long as you can and hope you nick a set-piece or nick a goal.

"We get a 2-0 lead and I thought, 'here we go, OK, we'll hopefully see it out now, maybe score one or two more' and then just two defensive errors have cost us."

Saunders could see the signs in the first half but it was one of the those days as United slipped two places to ninth in the National League table.

He said: "It's just frustrating more than anything because you get yourself in a great position and you think it's another three points.

"First 15 minutes were very good and after that I just thought the sending off probably made them work twice as hard and we just thought the job was done.

"You try and get into them, you try and tell them it's not and I thought second half we upped it a bit and started causing them a few problems and finally got our goal.

"That should be game over at that point but we just can't give goals away like that."

Read the match report from Maidstone's 2-2 draw with Gateshead

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