Maidstone came from behind to win their National League South opener against Slough at the Gallagher on Saturday.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men early in the second half and it proved decisive as the home side made their numerical advantage count to hand boss George Elokobi his first league win in charge.
Slough started brightly, forcing two corners inside the opening five minutes, but it was Maidstone who had two good openings to go ahead.
Summer signings Liam Sole and Ogo Obi combined to set up Sol Wanjau-Smith, who failed to get a decent shot away. Within a minute, the pair combined again as Wanjau-Smith set up Obi but he totally missed his kick 12 yards from goal.
There was an early booking for Maidstone’s Reiss Greenidge, perhaps harshly as Slough skipper Joe Dandy got just a talking-to for a late challenge moments earlier.
Greenidge made his presence felt in the opposition penalty area on 25 minutes, his header from a Sam Corne free-kick was pushed away by Slough keeper Hubert Graczyk.
The opening goal came on 34 minutes as former Ebbsfleet midfielder Johnny Goddard ran at the Stones defence before opening up the room for a shot which was deflected past his own keeper by the unfortunate Raphe Brown.
Stones boss Elokobi would have been delighted with his team’s response. Sole’s cross from the right was met by Brown but then handled by Jeanmal Propser, who was booked for his troubles.
Wanjau-Smith stepped up to send Graczyk the wrong way from the spot and restore parity just four minutes after Slough went ahead.
A quiet start to the second half was livened up by the red card after 54 minutes. The willing Wanjau-Smith was nudged in the back as he chased a through ball by defender Dan Bayliss and referee Michael Robertson-Tant reached for the red card, deeming it a professional foul.
The resulting free-kick was hit at the defensive wall by Wanjau-Smith but the numerical advantage presented Maidstone with a great chance of registering an opening-day win.
So it proved as the home side went ahead on 61 minutes. Corne’s delivery from a right-wing corner on his 100th Stones appearance was met by the onrushing Greenidge and while Graczyk saved his initial header, the defender was on hand to turn in the loose ball.
Maidstone should have wrapped the game up with 10 minutes left when debutant Razzaq Coleman De-Graft was given a golden chance to score with his first touch. Fellow substitute Levi Amantchi flicked on keeper Lucas Covolan’s long kick and De-Graft beat the offside trap to go clean through, only to shoot weakly at Graczyk when he seemed certain to score.
The Stones were nearly made to pay when Lench drilled goalwards six minutes from time but his low shot was diverted behind for a corner by the alert George Fowler.
It then needed excellent tracking back by Corne to deny Nathan Minhas in stoppage time to ensure Maidstone started life back in National League South with a deserved three points.
Maidstone: Covolan, Hoyte, Greenidge, Fowler, Brown, Corne, Wanjau-Smith (Amantchi 64mins), Reynolds, Obi (De-Graft 78mins), Sole (Ezennolim 70mins), Kelly. Subs not used: Aransibia, Earle.
Slough: Graczyk, Dandy, Bayliss, Davies, Dyce, Prosper (Louis 67mins), Lench, Sundire (Chambers-Parillon 82mins), Goddard, McElroy (George 56mins), Minhas. Subs not used: Giles, Ogbonna.
Referee: Michael Robertson-Tant.