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Dorking Wanderers 1 Maidstone United 0 match report: Stones lose big National League South game to Josh Taylor's second-half effort in front of record crowd at Meadowbank

Maidstone lost their top-of-the-table National League South match to leaders Dorking on Saturday, which ended their 14-game unbeaten league run.

A fine second-half strike from Josh Taylor proved the difference, with Maidstone's Jack Barham twice denied by the offside flag either side of that goal, in front of a record crowd at Dorking.

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

Marc White’s men had the first opportunity with three minutes played. Darren Oldaker sent a free-kick over from a central position.

Three minutes later, the Stones, backed by strong away support of 950 within the 2,898-strong crowd at Meadowbank, had the ball in the net. But ex-Dorking striker Barham had slotted home from an offside position, latching onto a Roarie Deacon through-ball. Prior to the game, Dorking's previous record league attendance (2,142) had come in last month's 5-1 win over Ebbsfleet.

Dorking again went close in the 12th minute, skipper James McShane glancing a header inches wide of Yusuf Mersin’s left-hand post.

Alfie Rutherford then hit the post for Wanderers from a Matt Briggs cutback after a flowing move.

But that run proved to be Briggs’ last action of the afternoon. He was stretchered off on 21 minutes and was replaced by former Maidstone, Dover and Ebbsfleet man Bobby-Joe Taylor.

Just after the half-hour mark, the home side's bold approach to leave three up as they defended a corner almost paid off. But Rutherford could only force a simple save out of Mersin when, perhaps, he had better options available.

At the other end, Barham appeared to have found space inside the home penalty box, only for two successive strikes at goal to be charged down.

Top scorer Joan Luque had two chances in quick succession for Maidstone shortly before half-time.

He headed captain Gavin Hoyte’s right-wing cross towards goal but was denied by the multi-talented Dan Lincoln, before Lincoln had to be alert to parry the 16-goal winger’s free-kick away.

The Stones made a half-time change which saw Sam Corne replaced by Christie Pattisson.

Early in the second period, the visitors went close when Luque flashed a strike narrowly wide.

Barham wasted a big chance in the 52nd minute, scuffing wide after a low cross from Pattisson.

It was Dorking who scored the only goal in the 64th minute. Taylor went on a mazy run after picking up the ball on the left-hand side before he fired past Mersin to break the deadlock to send the home fans wild.

The Stones almost produced the perfect response, although away celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee’s offside flag as Barham slotted home from close range following Deacon’s corner.

Pattisson had made a difference since coming on and, with 15 minutes to play, he drilled a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Another opportunity fell for the Stones soon after, Dominic Odusanya firing over from the edge of the area.

As Maidstone pushed for an equaliser, frontman Mo Bettamer was brought on for Deacon in the latter stages, with Wanderers frustrating the visitors well.

In stoppage-time, Hoyte delivered a poor free-kick which hit a Dorking player, although Hoyte did, at least, get back in time to stop a home player from scoring a second goal to clinch the win.

In the dying seconds, Rutherford also nearly lobbed Mersin.

The goalkeeper got back to make the save but it made little difference to end result as Dorking held on to complete the double over Hakan Hayrettin's men.

Despite second-placed Maidstone falling six points behind frontrunners Dorking, the Stones do have a game in hand on them.

The Stones made two changes, as Barham and Odusanya came in for the suspended Regan Booty while Pattisson dropped to the bench.

Goalkeeper Tom Hadler returned to Maidstone’s squad after a three-match ban but he had to make do with a place on the bench as Stones manager Hayrettin stuck with Mersin.

There was no place in the squad for midfielder Johl Powell, who was signed on a one-month loan from Charlton during the week.

For Wanderers, Lincoln, who has played cricket for Kent, started in goal while former Hythe and Gillingham man Oldaker was also in their starting line-up.

Maidstone: Mersin, Hoyte, Ellul, Fowler, Corne (Pattisson 46mins), Barham, Luque, Odusanya, Phillips (Gurung 79mins), Binnom-Williams, Deacon (Bettamer 86mins). Subs not used: Halder, Brown.

Dorking: Lincoln, Phillpot, McManus, Briggs (Taylor 21mins), Rutherford, McShane (Moore 59mins), Kennedy, Taylor, Gallagher, Fogden, Oldaker (Harris 59mins). Subs not used: El-Abd, Wheeler.

Referee: Jack Packman.

Attendance: 2,898 (950 away fans).

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