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Maidstone United 2-2 Tonbridge Angels match report

Maidstone were twice pegged back as Tonbridge earned a draw at the Gallagher Stadium.

Goals from Gavin Hoyte and Iffy Allen were cancelled out by Jason Williams and Harry Donovan in a game the Angels will feel they should have won.

Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Andy Jones

They were certainly the better side but remain without an away win this season and stay in the National League South bottom two despite a strong performance.

For the Stones it’s now 20 games, going back to the new year fixture against Margate in 2016, since they won a league derby.

Depleted Maidstone could only name a four-man bench, including academy lad Jacob Gilbert and Jordan Tingley from their under-23 development squad.

Tonbridge have also been short of bodies and handed a debut to forward Roberto Ratti, who’s joined on loan from Dover, while another loanee, Ben Greenhalgh, returned against his old team after missing Saturday’s defeat at parent club Dartford.

The Angels forced a couple of early corners in a decent start but trailed in the third minute as Hoyte, having scored only twice in his entire career before the weekend, struck for the second time in four days.

It came on the break with George Elokobi clipping a ball down the line for Ibby Akanbi to run on to and Hoyte arrived in the six-yard box to bury his cross.

Tonbridge were well in the game, despite the early setback, forcing further corners and getting a number of crosses into the Stones box.

Chris Lewington made a flying save when ex-Stones defender Sonny Miles met a Greenhalgh corner.

Shortly after, in the 19th minute, Tonbridge made it 1-1.

Donovan fed Joe Turner up the left and when his cross wasn’t dealt with, Williams fired home the equaliser.

A smoke bomb was thrown on to the pitch in the celebrations with a couple of Angels fans ejected by stewards.

Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge Angels manager Steve McKimm Picture: David Couldridge

Maidstone regained the lead in the 27th minute with Allen scoring his second goal in as many games after Jonny Edwards’ shot was blocked.

Tonbridge continued to get after Maidstone and there was a scare for the hosts when Donovan’s cross hit the bar.

Lewington pushed Turner’s dangerous strike away with Greenhalgh lashing the follow-up wide as Maidstone stayed in front at the break.

Allen went down under challenge from D’Sean Theobalds early in the second half but penalty appeals were waved away by referee Jason Richardson, who booked him for diving.

Maidstone had more defending to do as balls came into their box, including a timely interception by skipper Elokobi to cut out a cross at the near post.

Elokobi got in the way of Rian Bray’s header in the six-yard box, then debutant Ratti sent a free header over seconds later when he probably should have scored.

Another big chance fell the Angels’ way with Lewington pushing Williams’ header over the top from point-blank range.

Maidstone blew a big opening on a Dan Wishart-led counter-attack when Akanbi went for goal with sub Jake Embery waiting for a tap-in.

And they paid the price when Tonbridge levelled in the 77th minute, Donovan drilling the ball home at the near post from about 12 yards for his first Angels goal.

Akanbi and Edwards missed the target for Maidstone in the last 10 minutes.

Maidstone: Lewington, Hoyte, Johnson, Elokobi, Chesmain, Marshall, Temelci, Allen (Embery 62mins), Edwards, Wishart, Akanbi. Subs not used: Tingley, Knight, Gilbert.

Tonbridge: Henly, Folkes, Bentley, Donovan, Miles, Bray, Ratti (Small 71mins), Theobalds, Williams, Greenhalgh, Turner. Subs not used: Da Costa, Smith, Stirman, McDonald.

Attendance: 2,520 (299 away).

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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