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Maidstone United head of football John Still on the substitution that surprised home fans in Bath City defeat

John Still has explained his decision to substitute leading scorer Ibby Akanbi for defender Lewis Knight with Maidstone trailing Bath.

In a move that surprised home fans, 11-goal striker Akanbi made way for the big centre-half during the second half of their 2-0 defeat last night.

Maidstone United striker Ibby Akanbi Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone United striker Ibby Akanbi Picture: Andy Jones

Knight went into the backline with defender Ross Marshall pushed up front alongside Justin Amaluzor.

The Stones had a striker on the bench in Ibrahim Olutade but head of football Still felt Marshall's presence in attack could cause problems for the visitors, with Maidstone 1-0 down at the time.

Akanbi has gone six games without a goal and on Saturday ran himself into the ground as United's nine men were beaten by Chippenham.

"We wanted to put Ross Marshall centre-forward because he can play centre-forward," said Still.

"Ibby’s had a few games where he’s not finding spaces anywhere.

"It’s new to him, it happens, I always felt he would hit a wall at some point.

"He ran his socks off on Saturday with nine men and I thought he was struggling a little bit, and we know Ross can play centre-forward, so we thought we'd give him a go and he did all right up there."

Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Andy Jones

Still was happy with Maidstone's performance against Bath but they lacked a cutting edge and were beaten by goals from Frankie Artus and Sam Pearson.

United switched to 3-5-2 in a bid to solve their lack of goals - they haven't scored more than once in a game since beating Havant on January 4 - but found chances hard to come by.

Still said: "I think there’s two things to look at - the result and the performance.

"I thought we probably had 75% of the game without creating enough chances.

"We hit the post but for a couple of games we’ve not got the amount of goals our play has deserved.

"I thought we did enough to get something from the game but we’re not finding the goals easy to come by.

"We played with three centre-halves and we wanted to press really high because we’ve not been scoring goals.

"We decided we’d go with two up and push our wing-backs really high up the pitch and we did all of that.

"We did all the things we felt we should do and we were quite satisfied with how we did it but we didn't find the goal we needed."

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