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Maidstone United 0 Braintree Town 2 match report

By Craig Tucker

Maidstone look set to finish bottom of the National League after losing to basement rivals Braintree.

With both clubs already relegated, the Good Friday clash was all about trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

A win would have taken Maidstone off the foot of the table as head coach Hakan Hayrettin faced his old club but Mo Sagaf’s early penalty and a late second by Korrey Henry settled the match.

Maidstone head coach Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone head coach Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Andy Jones

Victory leaves the Iron four points clear of United with two games left.

A terrible start saw the visitors awarded a penalty in the opening minute.

Aron Davies made a clumsy looking challenge just inside the area, giving his man the chance to go down.

Sagaf stepped up and beat Chris Lewington from the spot.

Braintree fans were straight on to Hayrettin, who quit the Iron for Maidstone in January, with chants of ‘Hakan, what’s the score?’ and later ‘Sack the Hak’ as the Stones struggled to get going.

Be it the shock of falling behind, or just one of those days, Maidstone were very much second best in the early stages.

That said, Blait Turgott was seeing a bit of the ball down the left and it was his run that led to a golden chance for an equaliser in the eighth minute.

His scuffed shot ran into the path of Jake Embery inside the six-yard box but the Stones striker couldn’t sort out his feet.

Turgott was bright and Josh Taylor made a couple of good runs in the final third but Braintree were looking more dangerous.

There was more zip about their play and it wouldn’t have been a shock to see them add to their lead, Sagaf going close from a free-kick that hit the side-netting.

Maidstone improved marginally towards the end of the half, Embery doing well to shake off Iron defenders to make a chance for himself, while Davies saw an effort from Jack Powell’s corner headed off the line by Courtney Richards.

Braintree were on top at the start of the second half and a lovely move around the edge of the Stones box ended with Cameron James’ curler hitting the post.

Taylor’s strike was kept out by Ben Killip at the other end - pretty much his first save - and midway through the half the same man hit the top of the bar with a header from Jack Richards’ corner.

Justin Amaluzor’s ball across the face of goal was crying out for a finish moving into the last 20 minutes before Dan Wishart’s 20-yard drive tested Killip low to his left.

Maidstone were pressing but Braintree had the chance to make it two when Iffy Allen teed up Henry, Rob Swaine throwing himself in the way of the shot.

The second did though arrive in the 85th minute when Henry finished from the edge of the area after Maidstone got in a mess at the back.

Maidstone: Lewington, Phillips, Davies, Swaine, Wishart, Muldoon, Powell (Amaluzor 51mins), Taylor, Richards (Walton 90mins), Embery (Romain 63mins), Turgott. Subs not used: Henry, Cassidy.

Attendance: 1,908 (67 away).

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