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Maidstone Men's 1s
West Hampstead 1

DateSaturday 1st October
ResultD 1-1
ScorersNick Letherbarrow

Leatherbarrow secures point in the October heat

Maidstone 1st XI got their Southern Premier Division 2 campaign off to a mixed start as they took on West Hampstead in the unseasonal heat.

Maidstone started the brighter and showed good composure on the ball as they fell right in to their natural passing game. West Hampstead looked off the pacae and Maidstone enjoyed plenty of attacking possession but the final penetrative ball was lacking and they were unable to manufacture any decent chances. Full backs Iain Brine and Nick Leatherbarrow continued to marshal the defence well, feeding through some good ball and it only looked like a matter of time before Maidstone broke the deadlock. However despite some balls flashing across the West Hampstead D Maidstone were unable to deflect into the net and it was West Hampstead that won the first short corner of the game. Though this came to nothing they enjoyed further short corners and forced Maidstone into some scrambled defence. Maidstone's one answering corner in the first half flashed passed the post but with no-one able to put a stick on it the half ended scoreless. The home side went into the change of ends the better team and confident of securing the win.

Despite the heat both teams started off the second half with admirable intensity and continued to play good hockey and delight the large partisan crowd. Maidstone rotated their players well and their superior fitness started to tell as they created the clearer chances.  The best opportunity fell to Chris Brinn who superbly collected a lofted pass from the right and cooly rounded the keeper only to shoot narrowly wide as he was subjected to just enough pressure from behind. The game then turned as a West Hampstead player made three poor challenges in a row and was rewarded with 5 minutes in the sin bin. Unfortunately the extra space this afforded was seized upon by the away side who were able to switch the ball at pace across the pitch, cut into the D from their left and get a shot away. Maidstone keeper Darren Marchant was up to the challenge but it was a West Hampstead player who reacted first to the rebound and somehow his miss-hit shot found its way into the goal. Maidstone showed their newfound maturity as they kept their heads up and continued moving the ball nicely, just looking for someone to provide the finish. Skipper Nick Leatherbarrow was only too keen to provide this as he calmly slotted home a well worked short corner. As the relentless heat showed no sign of abating Maidstone pressed on for the victory and finally delivered one of their trademark counter attacks. The ball was shifted smoothly up the pitch with Tim Chapman playing in Jeremy Swaffer who had done well to find space in the D. However the West Hampstead keeper came from nowhere to make a fantastic save and earn his team a draw. Maidstone were left rueing missed opportunities but otherwise happy with their performance.