We welcome Maidstone United for a league game on Tuesday 28th January for the first time since August Bank Holiday 2014. Many of you will remember a thoroughly wet afternoon, ended when Alex Teniola scored in the last minute to secure a memorable 1-0 win. Teniola had already formed the concept of Teniola time as he'd done the same against Weston-Super-Mare five months earlier, but this is the game it's most remembered. He still quotes 'Teniola Time' today.
On New Years Day that season an equally memorable match at the Gallagher saw the points shared. Both goal scorers that day were Stones players then, but are Angels players today. Ben Greenhalgh put Maidstone into a first half lead before Sonny Miles put through his own goal to level at 1-1. As well as Sonny and Ben, the Stones side that day contained Lee Worgan, Frannie Collin, and Alex Akrofi, all of whom have played for the Angels at some point in their lives. Both sides contained a Parkinson brother in the centre of their midfield, (Tom was working for Maidstone but playing for us, Jack was wearing amber), and both Phil Starkey and Chris Piper were on the Stones' bench so the players knew each other fairly well.
Fast forward to New Years Day, January 2020 and there was another draw at the Gallagher with again the Angels having to come from behind to take a share of the points but this time twice with strikes from Jason Williams and Harry Donovan.
Compare the Stones 2014/15 team to today's Maidstone side and while a number of our squad have Stones connections, there isn't a former Angel in the Maidstone squad, which on recent meetings is quite unusual. Their poor season last year, which saw them relegated by eighteen points, saw a summer rebuild by Hakan Heyrettin and John Still, and nearly all their players are in their first season with the club.
Maidstone United was formed in 1992 when the former Maidstone United, a football league club for three years between 1989 and 1992, dropped out of the pyramid, the last football league team to do so until Bury this season.
As Maidstone Invicta they started all the way down in Kent County League Division Four, but by 2016 they were back in the National League again after beating Ebbsfleet on penalties to win promotion. By then, Maidstone had a new home in the town, the Gallagher Stadium. The first game at the new ground was a friendly against Brighton in 2012 and their first season there ended in the first of three promotions in four years when they beat Faversham in the Ryman South play-off final.
Tonbridge have the better of games against this Maidstone United, winning ten of the sixteen games between the sides. The most recent game was when Maidstone won a Kent Senior Cup tie 2-1 in 2017. Zavon Hines got what turned out to be the winner.
We are unbeaten in the last nine league games against the Stones, their last league win against us coming in 2007. They've never won a league game at Longmead, the last time a Maidstone team won against us in Tonbridge was at the Angel Ground on Boxing Day 1975. Micky Angel, who went on to score Tonbridge's last ever goal at the Angel Ground, has a career total of seven goals for the original Maidstone United against Tonbridge.
For full details on the Maidstone United squad please see Matt Davison’s visitors page in the matchday programme price £2.50.