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Hartlepool United 3 Maidstone United 1 match report

By Craig Tucker

Maidstone’s four-match unbeaten run is over after losing at Hartlepool.

Pools have had a tough start following relegation to League 2 but were good value for their win at Victoria Park.

They led at half-time through Keith Watson and made sure of the points with goals from Jonathan Franks and Connor Simpson.

Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders Picture Andy Jones

Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Jones

Substitute Johan ter Horst replied in injury time - his first Stones goal.

Maidstone stuck with the same side who played well against Dagenham on Monday but there wasn’t much to shout about in the first half.

Pools, buoyed by their first win of the season at Guiseley, made a confident start and it wasn’t a great surprise when Watson struck in the 19th minute.

They had plenty of the ball and when Maidstone did get it off them, they soon had it back.

A big home crowd, boosted by a £5 ticket offer, saw their side get after Maidstone.

Lee Worgan saved well from Devante Rodney, Simpson missed a good chance from a cross and Franks saw his header held after a neat move involving Nicky Featherstone and former Dover man Nicky Deverdics.

Alex Wynter then put in a good block on Rodney before the opening goal, which came after a Deverdics corner was half-cleared.

The ball fell to Lewis Hawkins who fed it back in for Watson to sweep home first-time.

A fierce Deverdics free-kick was parried by Worgan as Pools looked to build on their lead, then Franks wasted a free header at the far post from a corner.

Maidstone’s first sight of goal came a minute before half-time, Joe Pigott sending a free-kick over.

Shortly after, home keeper Scott Loach made a double save to deny Zavon Hines, after the ball came off home defender Carl Magnay, and Jack Paxman’s follow-up.

United made a better start to the second half, with more of the game being played in Pools territory.

But it didn’t lead to any real chances and on 57 minutes they went two down, Franks with a diving header from Deverdics’ cross.

Jay Saunders sent on Jack Richards before the restart and Maidstone almost pulled a goal back immediately, Pigott’s header from a Stuart Lewis cross well saved by Loach at the post.

Pigott went close again minutes later, with a desperate block denying the striker after Joe Anderson met a deep cross from Josh Hare.

But it was all over in the 68th minute when Simpson rose to power home a header from Hawkins’ cross to the back post.

Hawkins was inches away from curling home number four moving into the last 20 minutes with the home crowd now in full voice.

Ter Horst pulled a goal back in added time, a nice finish into the corner from the substitute.

Maidstone: Worgan, Hare, Anderson, Okuonghae, Wynter, Reason (Richards 58mins), Lewis, Paxman, Hines (Wraight 79mins), Sam-Yorke (ter Horst 76mins), Pigott. Subs not used: Finney, Prestedge.

Attendance: 4,137 (147 away).

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