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Maidstone United manager George Elokobi reveals FA Trophy masterplan after injury-time win over Dartford

George Elokobi said Maidstone had Dartford exactly where they wanted them before inflicting an FA Trophy sucker punch.

Darts enjoyed second-half pressure before Levi Amantchi struck in the final minute of injury time to hand United a 1-0 victory in yesterday’s Second-Round tie.

Maidstone midfielder Perri Iandolo goes for goal. Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone midfielder Perri Iandolo goes for goal. Picture: Steve Terrell

It might have looked as though Darts were in the ascendancy but Elokobi revealed it was all part of the plan.

“I wouldn’t say they were on top,” said the Stones boss.

“You saw it as them being on top in terms of possession but in football when you are not in possession you’ve got to make sure you are balanced, that you keep your discipline.

“You’ve got to make sure you’re controlling and constraining and we were controlling and constraining and waiting for that moment.

“In the second half they’re going to have moments, and they did, but it was about being disciplined, keeping our shape and keeping our compactness and making sure they played in the areas we want them to, so we were in control of those moments.”

Amantchi’s 17th goal this season, pouncing from close range after substitute Harry Kyprianou kept a cross in play, was the difference between the sides.

The tie was seconds away from going to penalties.

Elokobi said: “It was important we go all the way to the end.

“A little bit of quality towards the dying end of the game has given us a fantastic goal and a win for our football club.

“You have to talk about the assistors, the players who deliver the balls for Levi to finish.

“It was a fantastic ball that we worked up down the line and a fantastic cross.

“We talk about moments when we get in the final third, can we deliver that quality because we know we have players in and around the six-yard box and the 18-year box to keep it alive.

“Harry Kyprianou has kept it alive and Levi finds those pockets of space. It was on but again it was the the calmness and composure in that moment to finish.

“It comes from repetition on the training ground. When you repeat this over and over it becomes a good habit and you keep seeing that.

“He delivers in a big moment in front of our travelling fans which is incredible to see.”

Maidstone handed chances in midfield to youngsters Perri Iandolo and Riley Court while Bivesh Gurung dropped into the backline, a role he excelled in.

Report: Dartford 0-1 Maidstone

Maidstone keeper Lucas Covolan claims a cross. Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone keeper Lucas Covolan claims a cross. Picture: Steve Terrell

Maidstone have had their injury problems but Elokobi had complete faith in the players he selected.

“We’ve made changes but we had no worries making those changes because we needed to see and measure some our players and see where they are in terms of their development,” said the manager.

“It was important we gave minutes to the likes of Riley, we played Bivesh Gurung out of position, and Perri Iandolo has run himself into the ground for us.

“He was almost out of breath towards the end but it’s that resilience to keep going, so incredible work from them.

“They weren’t experimental changes.

“We know our group as management team, we’ve been working from pre-season, trying different things, so we know their capabilities.

“Everyone at this football club knows our principles.

“They know how we play in possession, out of possession, they know what’s required so there weren’t any worries coming into this game.

“They knew their roles and it’s important we trust them and believe in them. Everyone that’s signed for Maidstone United has been signed for a reason.”

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