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Maidstone United caretaker manager George Elokobi on the 2-1 National League defeat at Maidenhead

George Elokobi took heart from Maidstone’s second-half performance at Maidenhead.

The Stones lost their way after a promising start and had it all to do after conceding twice midway through the first half.

Maidstone United caretaker manager George Elokobi. Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United caretaker manager George Elokobi. Picture: Steve Terrell

They had a go after the break, with several attempts on goal, before Regan Booty replied from a well-worked free-kick.

Booty now links up with the England C squad for their game against Wales C at Altrincham on Tuesday night.

Maidstone remain 13 points from safety in the National League, with eight games to go, after a 17th match without a win.

“It was a game of two halves,” said caretaker boss Elokobi.

“We need to bring our second-half performance into the first half and if we do that in games then we’ll be all right but we can’t give teams a two-goal lead. We’re just giving ourselves a mountain to climb.

“But, again, I’m absolutely delighted for the second-half performance we saw from our players.

“They were really disappointed at half-time and we told them just go and express yourselves the best way you know in the second half and get a win in the second half.

“If you get a goal it might change things but it’s a game of two halves.”

Emile Acquah was presented with a couple of simple finishes from left-wing crosses as Maidstone, whose last win was against Maidenhead at the end of November, saw victory hopes unravel after their encouraging opening.

Elokobi felt the defending could have been better for both goals while praising the hosts’ defensive shape, with Maidstone unable to make their early possession count.

“We told them we’ve got to die to defend our box, our goal,” said Elokobi.

“But, at the same time, at the other end, we need to be first in both boxes.

"However, we didn’t quite do that. But it’s our job as management team to nullify how that happened and see how we can help our players when we get back to the training ground.

"We’ve got to be patient in our build-up play.

"We have to make sure we maintain possession and at the same time wait for the right moment.

"They had a good shape behind them.

"We had to be patient with our play and the final ball didn’t come but again we have to look at why as a management team to try and help us help the team out, to give them more information on how to break down tight and compact defences.”

Maidstone went for the power and physical presence of James Alabi up front to start the game before introducing Sol Wanjau-Smith during the second half.

Wanjau-Smith gave the Maidenhead defence a different challenge, with Elokobi also pleased with the contributions of fellow substitutes Sha’mar Lawson and Kevin Berkoe, as they returned from suspension and injury respectively.

“We know we’ve got good players,” said Elokobi.

“The players we picked, we trusted they were going to do a job for the team.

“However, I’ve always said it’s about the squad.

“Everyone is going to play their role and it was good to see the boys that started, they gave us their all, and that was their best on the day.

“And it was good to see the boys who came on in Wanjau-Smith and Sha’mar Lawson and also Kevin Berkoe, he showed a little bit of why we’ve got him here in the first place.

“Sol brought a lot of energy and that was needed because we needed to get something out of the second half and we did.”

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