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Maidstone United 2 Gateshead 2 match report

By Craig Tucker

Maidstone blew a 2-0 lead against a Gateshead side who played almost the entire match with 10 men.

The Heed controversially had defender Theo Vassell sent off as Zavon Hines struck from the penalty spot after 11 minutes.

In-form Stones strangely lost their way but looked set to celebrate a fourth National League win in a row when defender Alex Wynter scored midway through the second half.

Maidstone celebrate Zavon Hines' opener Picture Andy Jones

Maidstone celebrate Zavon Hines' opener Picture: Andy Jones

A blunder, though, gifted Richard Peniket a goal two minutes later and the battling Tynesiders levelled through Danny Johnson with 10 minutes left.

Maidstone, unchanged from the victory at Macclesfield, made a flying start at the Gallagher.

They should have led inside two minutes after Johan ter Horst and Stuart Lewis combined superbly in the box to set up Jai Reason, who sidefooted wide.

Joe Pigott saw a 20-yard free-kick well-saved by James Montgomery before the controversy surrounding United’s opener.

Reason chested down Joe Anderson’s ball to set Hines free down the left, with the Stones forward cutting inside before being clipped by Vassell virtually on the byline.

Jai Reason's early chance for Maidstone Picture Andy Jones

Jai Reason's early chance for Maidstone Picture: Andy Jones

Referee Sam Purkiss pointed to spot, dismissed Vassell - surely it should have been yellow at the most, unless it was something he said - and Hines converted confidently.

Hines had a strike parried from the edge of the box moments later but the red card was probably the worst thing that could have happened because Maidstone lost some of their intensity, the crowd went quiet and Gateshead had nothing to lose.

Thre was a warning when Lee Worgan made a double save Luke Hannant and Peniket, with Hannant sending the third shot wide from a good position.

Worgan made further saves from Hannant and Peniket and, although nothing too taxing for the Stones keeper, the hosts were unnecessarily putting themselves under pressure.

In fairness, it was hard for either side to get into much of a flow with Purkiss blowing for a string of free-kicks.

Reece Prestedge in action for Maidstone against Gateshead Picture Andy Jones

Reece Prestedge in action for Maidstone against Gateshead Picture: Andy Jones

Hines had the ball taken off his toe when yards out and set to shoot from Reason’s ball over the top - good defending from the Heed early in the second half - while a good run by ter Horst lifted the crowd as Maidstone looked to push on again.

United doubled their lead in the 67th minute when Wynter buried the loose ball from Hines’ free-kick.

That should have been that against the 10 men but Gateshead replied two minutes later with Peniket gifted a simple finish after a mix-up in the home defence.

A long-range strike from Johnson bounced back off Worgan as Gateshead threatened a leveller.

Soon after, in the 80th minute Johnson had his goal, belting home a loose ball from the corner of the area and cupping his ear to the Town End.

Maidstone: Worgan, Twumasi, Anderson, Okuonghae, Wynter, Lewis, Prestedge, Reason (Richards 81mins), ter Horst (Paxman 75mins), Pigott, Hines. Subs not used: Finney, Capel, Taylor.

Attendance: 2,530 (29 away).

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