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Maidstone United 3 East Thurrock United 2 match report

By Craig Tucker
Maidstone striker Jay May Picture: Matthew Walker
Maidstone striker Jay May Picture: Matthew Walker

Champions Maidstone ended the Ryman League Premier Division season with a 3-2 victory over East Thurrock on Saturday.

Stones were given a guard of honour by Rocks players as they emerged in front of a sell-out crowd of 2,226 at the Gallagher Stadium.

Top scorer Jay May put Stones in front and Billy Bricknell doubled the lead before half-time after Thurrock's Sam Higgins missed a penalty.

The visitors eventually replied and struck again after Bricknell restored the two-goal lead.

Bricknell nudged an early chance wide when played through by Jamie Coyle, then Tom Mills went close after a mistake in the Rocks defence.

Matt Bodkin saw a 20-yard strike well saved after exchanging passes with May before United took the lead in the 22nd minute.

Once again it was Bodkin involved with a strong run up the left before laying on a tap-in for May.

Higgins saw his spot-kick crash back off the post on the half-hour, captain Steve Watt the man penalised.

Maidstone went two up on 38 minutes as Bodkin found Bricknell who turned and made room for a low strike from the edge of the box.

Lee Worgan made his first save early in the second half after Mitchell Gilbey beat Stones' offside trap.

But Stones soon threatened again with Bodkin firing just wide after another decent run.

End-to-end action continued as Worgan kept out Connor Witherspoon's curler then Bricknell was denied by a goal-saving block by Ben Wood after Bodkin broke.

Having had nothing to do in the first half, Worgan was involved again with a smart block after Lewis Smith went through one-on-one.

Frannie Collin went close to a third for Maidstone after good work by substitute Jack Paxman before unmarked Higgins wasted a golden chance for the visitors.

East Thurrock finally pulled a goal back when Smith played a one-two and beat Worgan on 75 minutes.

Maidstone made it 3-1 eight minutes from time when Bricknell punished a mix-up in defence and rolled home.

But Thurrock replied two minutes later with unmarked Max Cornhill heading home a free-kick.

Maidstone: Worgan, Coyle, Mills, Watt (Miles 63mins), Huke, Rogers (Brown 69mins), Parkinson, May (Paxman 60mins), Collin, Bricknell. Subs not used: Stone, Godmon.
Attendance: 2,226.

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