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St Albans City 0 Maidstone United 0 match report

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Maidstone claimed a useful point at St Albans to move back up to second place in National South.

Hakan Hayrettin’s side were largely on top and had plenty of opportunities but couldn’t break the deadlock.

Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Steve Terrell

St Albans are no mugs, however, and a draw is no disaster away to one of the better sides in National South.

Maidstone were unchanged for the third match running, with new loan signing Jimiel Chikukwa on the bench.

They made a bright start against a Saints side sitting just outside the play-offs, with early joy down the left for Joan Luque, who had the beating of Avan Jones.

Maidstone won several early corners as they took the game to their hosts and while that didn’t translate into too many chances initially, there was a good opening for Luque just before the quarter-hour mark.

He skipped past a couple of challenges in the box and looked a good bet to score but his shot went wide.

Towards the end of the end of half, Sam Corne won possession just outside the box, swapped passes with Roarie Deacon and crossed for Jack Barham - again a willing worker - but a corner was the result.

St Albans settled into the game but probably didn’t get in Hadler’s penalty box in the entire first half, successfully kept at arm’s length by the Stones defence.

Their only efforts, shots from distance by Shaun Jeffers and Romeo Akinola, were easily held by Hadler, while Corne made an excellent challenge on Johnny Goddard to snuff out a counter-attack.

St Albans had a penalty appeal turned down just after the break following Gavin Hoyte’s challenge on Akinola and were looking more threatening as an attacking force.

There was a good chance for the Stones midway through the half when an attempted clearance hit Corne, who got his shot away inside the box, but Johnson, diving low to his right, made the save.

A pair of Hoyte crosses, seconds apart, led to two more openings for the visitors.

The first saw Johnson deny Deacon with his legs from close range, then the Saints No.1 turned Corne’s header past the post, again with little time to react.

A crucial touch from a Saints defender kept out Ellul’s bullet header from a Booty corner as Maidstone continued to push, then Deacon’s fierce half-volley was blocked.

Two minutes from time, Jerome Binnom-Williams got a free run at another Booty corner but headed over.

Maidstone: Hadler, Hoyte, Fowler, Ellul, Brown (Binnom-Williams 46mins), Booty, Corne, Phillips, Deacon, Luque, Barham (Pattisson 71mins). Subs not used: Gallagher, Chikukwa, Mersin.

Referee: Jonathan Maskrey.

Attendance: 1,622.

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