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Maidstone United’s first FA Cup opponents this season will be cheering them on against Coventry City – just not their assistant manager!

The manager of Maidstone’s first FA Cup opponents this season has been following their progress all the way.

And now Kevin Green, boss of Southern Combination League Steyning Town, has an added incentive for hoping the Stones upset Coventry in the last 16 on Monday night.

Steyning Town manager Kevin Green Picture: Steyning Town
Steyning Town manager Kevin Green Picture: Steyning Town

Not only would he be delighted to see them continue their run, it would also make for great banter in the Steyning dressing room at the expense of No.2 Dan Viggers.

“My assistant manager is a Coventry fan and he’s driving up to the game on Monday night with the physio and one of the coaches,” said Green.

“I wouldn’t put it past Maidstone to beat Coventry.

“I’d love it, honestly, especially as he’s going to the game!”

A record crowd of 1,135 packed into the Shooting Field ground back in September for a second qualifying round clash.

Steyning billed the tie as the biggest game in their history and, while George Elokobi’s side won 4-1, it was a day to remember for everyone connected to the Sussex club.

The hosts got back into it at 2-1 when Charlie Meehan scored just before half-time, but Sol Wanjau-Smith’s hat-trick sent Maidstone through.

“It was such a nice day,” said Green.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better draw.

“There were three former Football League clubs we could have drawn - Torquay, Yeovil and Maidstone - so to get one of them at home was incredible. The town was buzzing.

Sol Wanjau-Smith completes his hat-trick at Steyning. Picture: Steve Terrell
Sol Wanjau-Smith completes his hat-trick at Steyning. Picture: Steve Terrell

“It was always going to be a big ask, a part-time side against a full-time side, but I was pleased with how we played.

“We gave it a good go but Maidstone’s quality kicked in and, at the end of the day, it was the right result.

“They were class. They were good lads and George was a really nice bloke. I had a good chat with him and the Maidstone fans were really good.

“We couldn’t have asked for more. It was great exposure for the club.”

It was the first of seven wins for the Stones so far in this season’s competition and they’ve also beaten Football League clubs Barrow, Stevenage and Ipswich, to reach the last 16.

Steyning have been behind them ever since the clubs bonded on that sunny day.

“We’re really pleased to see them kick on and to end up where they have is amazing,” said Green.

“The lunchtime game against Ipswich, we were playing at 3 o’clock, so everyone got together and watched as much of it as we could.

Steyning players are welcomed on to the pitch before taking on Maidstone. Picture: Helen Cooper
Steyning players are welcomed on to the pitch before taking on Maidstone. Picture: Helen Cooper

“When we went into the changing room Ipswich were in the ascendancy and then we kept getting messages saying Maidstone had scored. Everybody’s been talking about it.

“The FA Cup is still a class competition and for clubs like us, financially, it’s so important.

“We played three or four games to get where we did and with the gate receipts from the Maidstone tie, it’s helped us a lot.”

Steyning, like the Stones, are enjoying a season to remember.

They’re fighting for the league title, sitting two points behind leaders Crowborough in fourth place.

And they’re also through to the Sussex Senior Cup semi-final, knocking out Brighton under-23s en route.

Horsham stand in their way of a place in the final at the Seagulls’ Amex Stadium.

“It’s tight in the league,” said Green. “The cups have affected us a bit in terms of pushing for the title but we’re still well in there.

“We shouldn’t be anywhere near the semi-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup. We’ve got Horsham the day after Maidstone play Coventry, so there’s loads going on.”

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