Published: 07:29, 13 September 2021
| Updated: 07:31, 13 September 2021
Maidstone have made a habit of getting substitutions right this season - and they were at it again against Concord.
Be it Christie Pattisson’s clincher on the opening day, a pair of winners from Alfie Pavey or Jermaine McGlashan’s assist at Hampton, Hakan Hayrettin has made good use of his bench.
Midfielder Sam Corne was the latest player to come on and deliver, scoring the Stones’ late equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Concord on Saturday.
Back from a pre-season ankle injury, he’d been on the pitch less than 15 minutes when scored the goal that preserved Maidstone’s unbeaten record in National South.
Corne said: “We were on the front foot and Hak just said go and do what you normally do, get us going forward, help us create chances and get yourself in the box.
“Luckily, I did that and got myself a goal.
“The ball dropped to me and it was nice to score in my first game back.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t get three points but at least we kept the unbeaten run going.
“They tried to kill our momentum but we stayed positive and created opportunities.
“We’ll have games where we play well and don’t win and vice-versa - they even themselves up over the season.”
A knee injury wiped out much of Corne’s first year at Maidstone but he stayed fit last year and showed his quality.
He’d been looking sharp again in pre-season before suffering a setback in the 4-2 friendly win over Charlton under-21s that meant he missed the first five games of the new campaign.
“It’s been tough because pre-season had gone well, I’d got lots of minutes, and then to get such a niggly little injury was so frustrating,” said Corne.
“I just rolled my ankle and had slight ligament damage.
“I returned to training and rolled it again, so that set me back even further.
“But I played for the 23s last Saturday and I did 90 in a friendly against Bromley on Tuesday to get back in the swing of things.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to pick up injuries along the way but hopefully not like my first year.
“It’s good to be back and hopefully I can stay fit and help the boys build on the great work they’ve done so far.”
Corne adds to the competition in midfield where Regan Booty, Jake Gallagher and Dominic Odusanya have kept Michael Phillips out of the side.
He added: “Listen, we’ve got a good squad and good team bond.
“Everyone’s pushing each other, everyone wants to play.
“As long as we’re doing the job on the pitch, that’s the main thing.
“My time will come. Whether it’s today, next week or the week after, who knows?
“As long as everyone’s working hard, and towards the same goal, that’s what matters.”