Published: 16:56, 25 January 2020
| Updated: 16:57, 25 January 2020
Fired-up Justin Amaluzor scored Maidstone’s winner days after being dropped from the squad for lateness.
Amaluzor - one of three players axed after arriving late for the Kent Cup tie against Dartford on Tuesday night - was named in the starting XI against Oxford.
The other two, Iffy Allen and Ibrahim Olutade, were on the bench.
Amaluzor played as though he had a point to prove and capped a fine display with the second-half header which gave Maidstone victory.
Chris Lewington was the busier of the two keepers in the first half but Maidstone were well in the game, the midfield trio of Andre Boucaud, Zihni Temelci and Saidou Khan combining nicely and making the side tick, a theme that continued throughout the game.
The Stones also put some decent balls in the box, through Noah Chesmain and Dan Wishart, and several times switched play to Gavin Hoyte on the right.
Amaluzor featured in some bright moments, skilfully pushing the ball past his man just past halfway and racing away before cutting inside and hitting Max Harris’ legs.
That was as close as they came to a first-half opener while Ibby Akanbi prodded a volley into Harris’ arms from Wishart’s cross and hit the side-netting latching on the Amaluzor’s pass.
In between all that, a wicked Wishart ball across the six-yard box almost forced an own goal from City captain Joe Oastler.
Earlier, the visiting skipper saw a looping header hit the bar, with Kevin Berkoe’s follow-up cleared off the line by Khan.
Lewington got down well to deny Eliot Benyon on the counter, thwarted Berkoe when City got him in on goal and pushed over a free-kick from Josh Ashby.
An early second-half talking point saw Amaluzor taken down by Oastler when through on goal from George Elokobi’s long ball.
Oastler, wisely staying down, escaped with a yellow card and Chesmain’s free-kick was comfortably saved by Harris.
Another free-kick, this one taken by Khan, was blocked as Maidstone continued to turn the screw then Amaluzor forced the corner which led to the opening goal in the 59th minute.
Chesmain took it, Temelci headed it back across goal and Amaluzor rose to nod home.
It was a goal that clearly meant a lot to him as he celebrated in front of the Genco Stand.
Maidstone were well on top but there was a chance for Oxford moving into the last 20 minutes with Lewington equal to Ashby’s 20-yard free-kick.
Maidstone: Lewington, Hoyte, Marshall, Elokobi, Chesmain, Boucaud, Temelci, Amaluzor, Khan, Wishart, Akanbi (Olutade 89mins). Subs not used: Cole, Kamdjo, Knight, Allen. Attendance: 1,739 (13 away).
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More by this authorCraig Tucker