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Maidstone United 1-1 Hemel Hempstead match report: George Elokobi scores his first Stones goal

George Elokobi scored his first Maidstone goal to earn a draw against Hemel Hempstead.

The Stones trailed to Sam Ashford’s first-half free-kick but Elokobi’s bullet header secured a point.

Maidstone United striker Ibby Akanbi just misses out to Hemel keeper Sam Beasant Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone United striker Ibby Akanbi just misses out to Hemel keeper Sam Beasant Picture: Andy Jones

They’re now four points behind Dartford, who occupy the final National South play-off spot, with two games in hand.

Dreadful conditions at the Gallagher - brutal wind and rain - meant it was never going to be much of a spectacle.

The Stones played into the wind first up and struggled to get out of their own half in the early stages as Hemel looked to make the most of the conditions.

The visitors had the ball in the net inside four minutes but it was disallowed for a foul on Chris Lewington.

A couple more crosses caused problems before Maidstone got the ball down and took charge against opponents who’d won just one of their last 10 games.

Saidou Khan, back from a knee injury, was a growing influence as Maidstone produced some lovely build-up and the hosts had a couple of chances, the best seeing Ibby Akanbi head over a cross from Dan Wishart when well-placed.

Wishart also got underneath a header and Zihni Temelci fired wide but Hemel took the lead against the run of play.

Dan Wishart moves infield for Maidstone during their draw with Hemel Hempstead Picture: Andy Jones
Dan Wishart moves infield for Maidstone during their draw with Hemel Hempstead Picture: Andy Jones

It came from a free-kick in the 39th minute, awarded against Wishart for handball, with Ashford bending the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Hemel almost doubled their lead after half-time when Tosan Popo fed Isaac Galliford in the box but Lewington touched his strike past the far post.

Sam Beasant made a double save from Temelci before Maidstone levelled in the 58th minute, Elokobi with a thumping header from Noah Chesmain’s corner.

Maidstone were well on top after the goal, substitute Justin Amaluzor nearly catching out Beasant at his near post and testing him with a shot on the turn, then Ross Marshall’s 25-yard drive flashed wide.

There were further openings with Beasant parrying from Wishart and getting a good hand to Chesmain’s well-hit strike from the edge of the area, while Amaluzor’s shot was blocked in a crowded box.

Maidstone: Lewington, Hoyte, Knight, Elokobi, Marshall, Temelci, Allen (Amaluzor 58mins), Khan, Wishart, Akanbi (McClure 71mins). Subs not used: Ribbins, Kamdjo, Olutade.

Attendance: 1,278 (26 away).

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