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Maidstone United 2 Notts County 5 match report: Stones rally from two goals down but Mapgies pull clear

Maidstone gave their fans something to shout about but ended up well beaten by Notts County in their final home game of the season.

The Mapgies, needing a win to keep their National League title hopes alive, cruised into a three-goal lead.

Maidstone United manager George Elokobi. Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United manager George Elokobi. Picture: Steve Terrell

Relegated United suddenly came to life with two goals in two minutes from Roarie Deacon and George Fowler and a comeback briefly looked on.

But County pulled clear again to run out comfortable winners, as Jim O’Brien finished with a hat-trick.

Notts hardly needed a helping hand but Maidstone obliged anyway by gifting them two early goals.

The opener came in the fifth minute with Yoan Zouma treading on the ball on the edge of the box, presenting it to Cedwyn Scott, who went through and beat Yusuf Mersin.

Notts’ second arrived 10 minutes later.

Raphe Brown, in his attempts to deal with Jodi Jones’ dangerous cross, inadvertently teed up O’Brien and he slammed home number two.

Maidstone didn’t get near Notts as the visitors popped the ball about for fun for the rest of the first half.

Jones was having a field day down the right as Notts dominated without needing to get out of second gear.

Further chances followed before the break, the best falling to Frank Vincent after Ruben Rodrigues and Sam Austin combined but Mersin got down well to block with his legs.

Maidstone’s only attempt of the first half was a free-kick from Notts old boy Regan Booty which went high and wide.

Away fan John Tennyson was introduced to the crowd at the break, having walked 160 miles from Nottingham to raise money for Cancer Research.

Speaking of his five-day trek, Tennyson said: “It’s emotional, very painful.

“I want to thank the Notts fans and the Maidstone fans for all the support I have had this week. It’s been amazing.”

Back to the action and the hosts managed a shot on target early in the second half, Bivesh Gurung working Archie Mair.

But Notts stretched their lead on the hour with O’Brien’s second goal of the game.

He fired the loose ball under Mersin after Vincent’s strike came back off the underside of the bar.

Maidstone rallied out of nowhere with two goals in as many minutes and hitting the woodwork straight after.

Deacon pulled one back with a neat turn and finish in the box in the 70th minute and skipper Fowler got the crowd going by turning home a cross at the back post.

It was so nearly 3-3 moments later, with Sam Bone’s 20-yard cracker striking the bar.

Brown was inches away from connecting with a Booty free-kick before Notts gave themselves breathing space with a fourth goal in the 83rd minute.

Mersin got his hand to Rodrigues’ 20-yard free-kick but couldn’t keep it out.

Four became five wirth a minute of normal time to play after a foul by Zouma on Rodrigues gave O’Brien the chance to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

Maidstone: Mersin, Brown, Zouma, Bone, Fowler, Gurung (Iandolo 76mins), Booty, Deacon, Berkoe, Marshall (Galvin 46mins), Viggars (Jeche 68mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Odusanya.

Notts County: Mair, Brindley, Cameron, O’Brien, Austin, Jones (Nemane 65mins), Baldwin, Vincent, Palmer (Morias 66mins), Scott (Langstaff 65mins), Rodrigues. Subs not used: Chicksen, Bostock.

Referee: Andrew Miller.

Attendance: 2,391 (781 away).

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