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Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin happy with point at Billericay

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Hakan Hayrettin told his players they had nothing to be down about after Maidstone’s draw at Billericay.

The Stones needed a late goal from substitute Reece Grant to take a point from Saturday’s top v bottom clash.

Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Chris Davey
Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Chris Davey

But while boss Hayrettin felt Maidstone were the better side, he was happy with a 1-1 draw in what he always maintained would be a difficult game despite the respective league positions.

“They feel like they’ve lost but they haven’t,” said Hayrettin, after his side's six-match winning streak ended.

“They’ve been on an unbelievable run, we’re still up there, we got a great point today.

"Could we have won? Yes. Were we the better team? Yes. Fair play to Billericay, they made it difficult for us.

“We just didn’t really have enough shots in the final third in the first half.

“Saying that, we kept on plugging away and we got what we deserved.

“Overall, the (unbeaten) run continues.

“The boys are a bit deflated, my job is to pick them up again because they’ve been on such a run now they think every time they drop a point that it feels like losing, and it isn’t.

“We’ll go back to Kent, I’m happy with the point.

"We couldn’t give the supporters the three points we wanted but we gave them something, which is more important, they can see that the team’s fighting and we didn’t give up.”

Shaquile Coulthirst’s strike took a deflection off Stones defender Joe Ellul as Billericay led with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Grant came off the bench to equalise before going off with an ankle injury, leaving Maidstone with 10 men.

“I think we had the possession of the play in the first half,” said Hayrettin, whose side are now second on goal difference to new leaders Ebbsfleet.

“If we’ve got one criticism, as much of the play that we had, we didn’t really work the goalkeeper.

“Second half, we said we were going to up the ante and we came close a couple of times, Roarie Deacon’s hit the post, the keeper’s made a great save from Jack Barham and Michael Phillips hit one over the bar.

“So we had the chances, and we had the ascendancy to put them under pressure, and they got a breakaway goal which got a deflection from Joe and went in.

“We made changes and got back in the game and if there was anyone that was going to win it, it was us.

“Reece Grant comes off after scoring - I can’t believe his luck by the way - and then we had to play with 10 men, and we still had the better chances.”

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