Maidstone Mens 1s
Tunbridge Wells (Kent Cup)
|Date||Sunday 19th February|
|Scorers||Iain Brine 3|
They March On
Maidstone progressed to the Kent Cup Semi-finals with a hard fought victory over Tunbridge Wells.
After thrashing them 5-1 pre-season Maidstone should have been clear favourites but since then Tunbridge Wells had lost only once in 16 matches and were clearly a very confident team. With both teams having played the previous day it was Maidstone who showed this more as they got off to a sluggish start. T Wells by comparison looked switched on, organised and very focussed. After coping with some initial pressure Maidstone settled and soon identified the danger that the aerial ball would pose to T Wells’ attacking press. Using this tactic it was Maidstone who looked the more dangerous but their inability to retain attacking possession gave T Wells plenty of ball and it looked like it would be the home side that went ahead after 20 minutes as they caught Maidstone short at the back. However Brendan Baker made a superb stop on the line after sprinting back and diving to make the save. Buoyed by this Maidstone started to hold onto the ball more and were rewarded with a short corner which Iain Brine flicked home. Maidstone went into the break 1-0 up but knowing they had a real scrap on their hands.
The second half was indeed scrappy with neither side settling or playing good hockey. Maidstone continued to use the aerial ball as an effective weapon as T Wells started to press with more numbers. The weight of this press eventually told as they were able to scramble the ball into the goal to draw level. However Maidstone’s forwards continued to run at the T Wells defence and they were soon back in front through another Iain Brine short corner drag flick. As T Wells got increasingly desperate for another equaliser they lost their shape and started to try and carry the ball in the Maidstone D. Some stout defending when it counted kept them out and Maidstone were able to breathe a sigh of relief when Joe Martin’s skillful run ended with a penalty stroke. Brine easily dispatched this to take his hat trick and the team through to the semi-finals.
Maidstone face either Marden Russets or Sutton Valence in the Semi-finals.