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Maidstone United 2 Tonbridge Angels 0 match report: Kodi Lyons-Foster own goal and Sam Corne’s penalty settle New Year’s Day derby

Two goals in seven minutes before half-time gave Maidstone victory over Tonbridge at the Gallagher Stadium.

Keeper Jonny Henly scored an own goal after a mix-up with defender Kodi Lyons-Foster and Sam Corne doubled the hosts’ lead from the penalty spot.

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

Tonbridge had plenty of the game in the second half but United absorbed the pressure to run out winners in the first game of 2024.

Maidstone made a bright start attacking the Genco Stand in front of a big New Year’s Day derby crowd of 3,021.

They enjoyed decent possession early on without creating anything clear-cut.

Tonbridge grew into the game with Paris Lock, their new loan signing from AFC Wimbledon, forcing a decent low save from Lucas Covolan after working space for a shot.

Matt Rush, scorer of Maidstone’s goal at Longmead on Boxing Day, fired wide after running on to Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong’s flick in what was the hosts’ best opening before breaking the deadlock.

The first goal came in the 34th minute and owed plenty to Sol Wanjau-Smith after he kept the ball alive with a clever backheel down the line to Harry Kyprianou.

Kyprianou crossed to the near post where ex-Stones loanee Lyons-Foster’s header hit Angels keeper Henly and went in.

It initially went down as a Lyons-Foster own goal but replays proved otherwise, with the ball going wide before hitting Henly.

Maidstone went after a second, with Henly sticking out a leg to deny Berkeley-Agyepong from a Timmy Abraham cut-back.

Tonbridge Angels defender Ethan Sutcliffe. Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge Angels defender Ethan Sutcliffe. Picture: David Couldridge

Number two followed from the penalty spot with Wanjau-Smith going down under challenge from Tariq Hinds.

Referee Ayrton Hursey pointed to the spot and vice-captain Corne fired into the top corner in the 41st minute.

Abraham sent a volley into the side-netting as Maidstone bossed the opening stages of the second half before Lewis Gard hit the wall from a free-kick on the edge of the box at the other end.

Jordan Greenidge’s header from a Mo Dabre cross was comfortably saved by Covolan as Angels looked for a way back into the game, while Wanjau-Smith bent an effort wide for Maidstone.

The visitors were having a go and a nice run and pass from Jernade Meade released Lock but the shooting angle was against him and Covolan made a straightforward save.

Stones substitute Lamar Reynolds had a chance to kill the game off after finding himself one-on-one with Henly with 10 minutes left, but the finish was lacking.

Maidstone: Covolan, Hoyte, Greenidge, Kyprianou, Bone, Corne, Berkeley-Agyepong (Brown 87mins), Abraham (Sole 74mins), Rush, Wanjau-Smith (Reynolds 69mins). Subs not used: Ezennolim, Earle.

Tonbridge: Henly, Hinds, Sutcliffe, Lyons-Foster, Meade, Higgs (Mampolo 71mins), Wagstaff, Gard, Dabre, Greenidge, Lock (Yeboah 80mins). Subs not used: Gibb, French, Janneh.

Referee: Ayrton Hursey.

Attendance: 3,021 (491 away).

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