Maidstone Mens 2s
|Date||Saturday 19th November|
|Scorers||Ollie Mitchell 3, Adam Barlow 2, Richard Chilcott 2, Tim Chapman|
Maidstone Mens 2s travelled to Erith to take on league strugglers BBHC 2s. Maidstone had come off the back of disappointing game against Canterbury, and the instructions from training and the pre-game team talk were resonating in the ears of a team striving to do better. All talk of the benefits of taking the M20 over the M2, and the trepidation of playing on the new Erith School sand-caked astro, was left quickly behind at the start as Maidstone quickly built up momentum in their play. Possession was easy to come by and direct passing enabled a series of ‘D’ penetrations which threatened the BBHC goal.
The deadlock was broken by Ollie Mitchell, who once again proved his prowess in front of goal to add to his impressive season tally. The joy was short-lived as BBHC returned with a goal to level the scoreboard. Maidstone stuck to the task at hand and continued to pile on the pressure: Andy Smith providing a constant aeriel threat, and Tim Chapman proving too fast on the ball for the BBHC defenders to contain. Despite the ground conditions resembling the decorative grass at greengrocers, Maidstone were efficient with good ball pace, direct passing and purposeful touches. Two more goals before half time put the visitors 3-1 up at the break, and BBHCs hopes were dealt a blow with the loss of the centre-midfielder playmaker.
The half-time talk rallied the Maidstone players into improving further, and the resulting display was reflective of the work put in on the training ground. The occasional break from the BBHC team was dealt with maturity by Matt Emery and the experience of Mark Christmas, even with the loss of Nelly Dibben to a blood injury after his head intervened with a BBHC player’s follow-through. The penalty-corner resulting from Nelly’s indiscretion was dealt with after Mike Smith made a string of saves. Maidstone piled on the goals in the second half finishing with a season’s best of 8-1 (a little short of Greg Laurenson’s 20-0 prediction). Ollie Mitchell bagged another hat-trick; Adam Barlow (2) took a nice deflection and a back-post poach; Richard Chilcott also netted 2 including a disguised short-corner strike, and Tim Chapman made up the numbers.
Despite the impressive scoreline, the ambition and drive of the Maidstone Mens 2s to do better was evidenced by a post-match team talk emphasising where improvement is needed. Man of the match Matt Emery was awarded the water bottles to look after.