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Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders praises Darius Osei after FA Trophy win over Heybridge

By Craig Tucker

Jay Saunders liked the look of new signing Darius Osei in Maidstone’s FA Trophy win over Heybridge.

Osei marked his first start by scoring the second goal in United’s 2-1 win over Isthmian League Swifts on Saturday.

The former Oldham man also looked a threat out wide on his full debut as United reached the last 16 for the first time since 1988.

Darius Osei celebrates his first Maidstone goal Picture: Gary Browne
Darius Osei celebrates his first Maidstone goal Picture: Gary Browne

Boss Saunders said: “His last 90 minutes was probably two months ago so he’s still a long way off fitness but what pleased me was his workrate.

“It was nice for him to get his goal, he could have had maybe another one, but he put in some great balls and he was a really good threat for us and a different option.

“I was pleased with him and I think there’s more to come from him once he’s settled in.

“He still probably doesn’t know everyone’s names.

“He’s had one training session with us, so he’ll get to know everyone and he’ll fit in well.”

Jamar Loza and Osei put Maidstone in charge at half-time and while Juan Luque replied late on, Saunders felt his side were worthy winners.

He said: “Not being disrespectful to Heybridge, probably the scoreline doesn’t reflect the game.

Maidstone manager Jay Saunders Picture: Gary Browne
Maidstone manager Jay Saunders Picture: Gary Browne

“We said at half-time we really need to try and grab that third goal to kill them off because their gameplan you could see was to try and stay in the game and then last five minutes really go for it and put everything in our box.

“It was a great strike from their lad to make it a little bit nervy at the end but all in all I thought we controlled the game, we just couldn’t kill it off.”

Saunders rested Magnus Okuonghae against the big defender’s wishes, naming him on the bench, while Reece Prestedge was left out altogether.

The Stones boss said: “To be fair, me and Mags have just had a little bit of a disagreement.

“I feel Saturday-Tuesday is a bit much for him, especially with the games we’ve got coming up.

“He kind of disagrees and feels he needs a run so it’s something we’ll have a chat about on Monday.”

Darius Osei in full flow against Heybridge Picture: Gary Browne
Darius Osei in full flow against Heybridge Picture: Gary Browne

On Prestedge, Saunders added: “I just left him out. I wanted to go with more attacking options on the bench. It doesn’t hurt him to have a rest.

“He’s another one, I think Saturday-Tuesday is a big ask for him so I just felt it would be a good chance to give him a little break.”

A tight hamstring forced Tom Wraight off in the first half but Saunders is hopeful he’ll be fit for the Kent Senior Cup quarter-final against Gillingham on Tuesday.

Read the match report from Maidstone's 2-1 win over Heybridge

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