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Dover Athletic 2 Maidstone United 2 match report

By Craig Tucker

Dover fought back from two goals down as the Boxing Day derby against Maidstone ended in a draw.

Joe Pigott scored twice in five minutes to put the Stones in charge at half-time.

But Nortei Nortey replied before the hour mark and Ryan Bird salvaged a point with a late equaliser.

Chris Kinnear Picture: Tony Flashman
Chris Kinnear Picture: Tony Flashman

Dover, boasting the best defence in the league, normally give nothing away but were caught out for both United goals in the first half.

The opener came in the 36th minute with Femi Ilesanmi missing his header from Zavon Hines’ lovely crossfield ball and allowing Seth Twumasi to get in a cross which was finished by Pigott.

Maidstone doubled their lead in the 41st minute.

This time Whites were slow to switch on to Joe Anderson’s quick free-kick to Loza, with the Stones striker’s cross setting up a simple header for the unmarked Pigott at the far post.

Virtually nothing had happened before the two goals, bar an early injury for Stones defender Alex Finney, with the match every bit as tight as expected.

For Maidstone, Aaron Collins - returning to the side in a switch to 4-4-2 - saw his 25-yarder comfortably held by Mitch Walker.

At the other end, Connor Essam headed over from a Mitch Pinnock corner, while Lee Worgan got down well after Bird met Anthony Jeffrey’s left-wing cross.

Stones boss Jay Saunders Picture: Ady Kerry
Stones boss Jay Saunders Picture: Ady Kerry

Pigott was denied a third by Walker after battling past a couple of challenges early in the second half, while Whites went close when the ball set up for captain Mitch Brundle whose terrific volley from the edge of the box hit the bar.

That sparked Dover into life and they were back in the game in the 58th minute when Nortey’s header from Josh Passley’s cross crept into the bottom corner.

Substitute Kadell Daniel threw himself at Manny Parry’s cross but couldn’t keep his shot down as Whites continued to build pressure.

Maidstone were having to concentrate hard at the back but conceded the equaliser in the 80th minute.

Worgan couldn’t hold substitute Kadell Daniel’s shot from out wide and big striker Bird pounced to tuck away the rebound.

A loose pass from Worgan then presented the ball to Pinnock, who hit the Stones keeper’s legs with two minutes left.

Another big chance fell Dover’s way when Passley and Brundle combined but Worgan made an excellent save from Giancarlo Gallifuoco’s header.

Dover: Walker, Passley, Ilesanmi, Gallifuoco, Parry, Essam, Brundle, Pinnock, Bird, Nortey, Jeffrey (54mins). Subs not used: Richards, Fazakerley, Alabi, Deen-Conteh.

Maidstone: Worgan, Finney (Okuonghae 15mins), Wynter, Lewis, Loza (Prestedge 70mins), Anderson, Reason, Twumasi, Hines (Wraight 81mins), Pigott, Collins. Subs not used: Hare, Paxman.

Attendance: 2,078 (468 away).

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