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Maidstone United 2 Braintree Town 1 match report

By Craig Tucker

Bobby-Joe Taylor scored twice as Maidstone claimed their second National League win in four days.

His first-half double led Stones to victory over a Braintree side who had defender Jon Ashton sent off in the last 10 minutes of Tuesday’s night match at the Gallagher.

The Iron replied through substitute Joe Maybanks in the third minute of injury time.

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Bobby-Joe Taylor Picture: Gary Browne
Bobby-Joe Taylor Picture: Gary Browne

Maidstone, unchanged following the excellent performance at Chester on Saturday, dominated much of the first half.

Kevin Lokko was inches wide with a header from an Alex Flisher long throw before Jay Saunders’ side led through Taylor in just the fourth minute.

The Stones winger ran on to a neat Ben Greenhalgh pass and thumped the ball past Town loanee Ross Fitzsimons, who’d only signed for the Iron on the morning of the game.

Maidstone, with Jack Paxman bright in midfield, were all over the visitors with chances falling to Taylor and Flisher as Braintree struggled to get out of their own half.

The second goal came on the half-hour with Taylor played in through the middle by Paxman, turning his man on the edge of the box and beating Fitzsimmons with a deflected strike.

Bobby-Joe Taylor adds his second Picture: Gary Browne
Bobby-Joe Taylor adds his second Picture: Gary Browne

A 30-yard blockbuster by Jack Evans flashed over - it would have been some goal - as United threatened a third.

Harry Lee was easily Braintree’s brightest player, both in open play and from his dangerous set-pieces.

Several times he picked out the head of Ashton from corners, one knockdown presenting unmarked Lee Barnard with a golden chance in the six-yard box, only for the ex-Southampton man to lift the ball over.

Lee Worgan, having earlier dealt with Lee’s 25-yard drive, also did well to turn Rohell Gordon’s free-kick out for a corner.

Early in the second half Greenhalgh ran on to his own pass - intended for Flisher - and steamed clear but saw his effort float just over.

Ben Greenhalgh in action for Maidstone Picture: Gary Browne
Ben Greenhalgh in action for Maidstone Picture: Gary Browne

Anthony Acheampong threw himself in the way of a Midson strike as space opened up for the Braintree man around the hour mark.

Flisher and Greenhalgh - who’s added workrate to his undoubted class, and almost forced a third through the keeper’s legs - continued to look a threat, while at the other end United looked nice and solid.

Ashton was sent off for pulling back Flisher on the edge of the box in the 81st minute.

Flisher took the free-kick himself, a thumping effort parried by Fitzsimons, who also got behind James Rogers’ follow-up.

Time was almost up when Maybanks denied United their first clean sheet of the season.

Maidstone: Worgan, Evans, Mills, Acheampong, Lokko, Rogers, Murphy (Hall-Johnson 74mins), Paxman (Sweeney 60mins), Flisher, Greenhalgh, Taylor (Karagiannis 84mins). Subs not used: Coyle, Richards.

Braintree: Fitzsimons, Williams, Okimo, Lee, Gayle, Ashton, Midson, Barnard (Cheek 69mins), Akinola, Gordon (Maybanks 78mins), Corne. Subs not used: Fagan, Rees, Goodman.

Attendance: 2,242.

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