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Maidstone United 2 Dartford 1 match report: Goals from Harry Kyprianou and Matt Rush give hosts victory after Darts led through Luke Coulson’s penalty

FA Cup stars Maidstone came from a goal down to beat Kent rivals Dartford at the Gallagher Stadium.

Darts led at the break through Luke Coulson’s early penalty.

Matt Rush looks to get the better of Dartford centre-half Manny Adebowale. Picture: Helen Cooper
Matt Rush looks to get the better of Dartford centre-half Manny Adebowale. Picture: Helen Cooper

But two goals in five minutes from Harry Kyprianou and Matt Rush turned the game United’s way, three days on from their FA Cup third-round success against Stevenage.

Victory sends the Stones up to third place in National League South, with Dartford 16th after blowing 21 points from winning positions this season.

There were debutants on either side with Leyton Orient midfielder Jephte Tanga coming in for the Stones while Bournemouth goalkeeper Billy Terrell was named in the Darts XI following Ryan Sandford’s move to League 2 Crawley.

Terrell, who impressed in a loan spell at Dover earlier this season, saved his new club a couple of times in the first half as good chances fell Maidstone’s way.

It was always asking a lot for the home side to be at full tilt after their weekend exertions in the FA Cup and subsequent excitement around the club, even with five changes.

But they should have had at least two goals in the first half with good opportunities falling to Timmy Abraham, returning to the side after being cup-tied against Stevenage.

He had a double chance early on, Terrell making a fine save after Abraham met Kyprianou’s cross, with the follow-up fired over.

Abraham also sent a header wide from a Sam Corne cross when well-placed to score while Terrell’s bravery was rewarded when he took a ball in the face to deny Paul Appiah from close range.

Timmy Abraham gets down the right for Maidstone. Picture: Helen Cooper
Timmy Abraham gets down the right for Maidstone. Picture: Helen Cooper

On-loan Gillingham youngster Matty McArthur was again a bright spark for Dartford, a positive player with good feet, who looked capable of causing problems whenever he got the ball.

But the opening goal came from the penalty spot after Abraham brought down Sam Oduadu on the byline.

Coulson stepped up and sent Lucas Covolan the wrong way to give Dartford an 18th-minute lead.

Shortly after the goal, Covolan flung out an arm to save Paul Rooney’s goalbound header as Dartford threatened to add to their lead.

Dartford should have made it two after the break with Rooney pouncing on a mistake by Appiah at the back and feeding Tyrell Miller-Rodney, who blazed over.

They were made to regret that miss when Maidstone equalised in the 69th minute, Kyprianou meeting a Corne corner.

Another set-piece led to Maidstone’s second goal five minutes later. Corne was the provider again, this time from a free-kick, with George Fowler’s header turned in on the line by Rush.

Substitute Alex Wall went close for Dartford with a decent effort from outside the box but the Stones successfully saw out five minutes of stoppages to take the points.

Maidstone: Covolan, Brown (Bone 59mins), Fowler, Greenidge, Kyprianou, Appiah, Corne, Reynolds, Abraham (Sole 59mins), Rush, Tanga (Gurung 84mins). Subs not used: Ezennolim, Earle.

Dartford: Terrell, Statham, Adebowale, Nembhard, Oduadu, Wynter, Miller-Rodney (Manor 83mins), Rooney, McArthur (Smith 75mins), Alexander (Wall 75mins), Coulson. Subs not used: Wray, Box.

Referee: Tom Ellsmore.

Attendance: 1,979 (125 away).

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