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Cheltenham Town 2 Maidstone United 4 match report

By Craig Tucker

Maidstone upset League 2 Cheltenham in an extraordinary FA Cup first-round tie at Whaddon Road.

Delano Sam-Yorke scored twice but was then sent off as National League United led 3-0 and 4-1.

The Robins, 15th in League 2, got back to 4-2 through an Alex Finney own goal but were reduced to 10 men themselves when Kevin Dawson saw red.

Maidstone striker Delano Sam-Yorke Picture: Gary Browne
Maidstone striker Delano Sam-Yorke Picture: Gary Browne

Two goals in a minute, from Sam-Yorke and Pigott, put Maidstone in charge, with Hines adding a brilliant third.

Dawson replied just after the break but Sam-Yorke instantly restored the three-goal lead before seeing red.

Kick-off was delayed by a couple of minutes while stewards burst balloons from the away but there was no bursting Maidstone’s bubble at Whaddon Road.

Home fans will say their side were awful but take nothing away from United who were outstanding from the first minute to open up a big lead and then to stay in front after Sam-Yorke’s red.

Robins gave the ball away cheaply a couple of times in the opening moments and that seemed to set the tone as Maidstone took charge of the tie.

They took the game to the hosts, looked good on the ball and a big threat from a series of early corners with the hosts struggling to clear their lines.

The opening goal on 20 minutes with Hines leading a breakaway after a fine tackle by Joe Anderson.

Play went from left to right with Reece Prestedge feeding Jai Reason before Seth Twumasi charged down the right and checked back on to his left foot before crossing for Sam-Yorke to head home.

Moments later it was 2-0, Pigott controlling a ball forward and holding off Taylor Moore before beating keeper Scott Flinders.

Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Jones

Furious Robins boss Gary Johnson, later sent off, made a double change on the half-hour, Danny Wright and William Boyle on for Kyle Storer and Moore in a change of tactics.

It made little difference and on 43 minutes United went three up.

Prestedge made an excellent block from Eisa at one end, then Reason’s superb ball picked out Hines who took a touch and coolly lobbed Flinders.

Cheltenham, no doubt, got a half-time rocket from Johnson and just after the break went close when Lee Worgan kept out Graham’s header.

They thought they were back in business when Eisa’s cross was headed home at the back post by Dawson in the 53rd minute.

But Maidstone restored their three-goal lead virtually from the restart with Pigott squaring for Sam-Yorke who beat his man and finished.

From the high of scoring, Sam-Yorke’s afternoon was over on 57 minutes when he took out Eisa on the touchline and was sent off.

Robins were getting hammered by the home support behind the goal but they had another sniff on the hour when the ball went in off Finney for an own goal.

That really got Cheltenham going and they started to pile on the pressure, Worgan with a smart tip-over from Harry Pell’s header as crosses rained into the Stones box.

Worgan kept out further efforts from Graham and Pell before Cheltenham were reduced to 10 men.

Dawson was the man sent off for a horrible lunge on Worgan, who already had the ball in his hands.

Worgan recovered after treatment and soon made an excellent save with his leg to deny Eisa a few yards out.

There were good chances for Maidstone in the closing minutes, first for Tom Wraight and then when Hines went for goal with Jamar Loza waiting for a tap-in.

Maidstone: Worgan, Twumasi (Okuonghae 55mins), Anderson, Wynter, Finney, Lewis, Prestedge, Reason (Wraight 82mins), Sam-Yorke, Pigott (Loza 84mins), Hines. Subs not used: Muldoon, Taylor, Phipps, ter Horst.

Attendance: 2,799.

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