20th August 2023

The Glovers stretched their unbeaten run to three games but were left with a touch of frustration after settling for a 1-1 draw against Maidstone United at Huish Park.

Right from the start, the Glovers displayed their intent, earning a free-kick in a dangerous position early on. Charlie Cooper assumed responsibility, directing his attempt just wide of Lucas Covolan’s post. Moments later, Jake Hyde managed to breach the defence and round Covolan, only to be flagged offside before he could aim for the open net.

The positive momentum for the Glovers persisted as they advanced down the right flank. Charlie Cooper linked up with Morgan Williams, but the resulting cross strayed off target, sailing out for a goal kick. A few minutes later, Jordan Maguire-Drew surged down the right, outpacing his opponent, and delivered a cross to Jake Hyde, who couldn’t guide his header on target.

Maidstone’s first notable chance materialised through Ogo Obi. The forward capitalised on a pass down the right wing, outmuscling Josh Staunton to gain possession. His lofted attempt, however, posed no trouble for the alert Will Buse. Soon after, Bivesh Gurung seized the ball in midfield, dribbled forward, and unleashed a low shot, comfortably collected by Buse.

The Glovers then had a golden opportunity to seize the lead. A free-kick from Jordan Maguire-Drew’s left boot found Frank Nouble unmarked, but his header sailed over the crossbar. Maguire-Drew combined effectively with Alex Whittle to whip in another cross from the left, yet the Maidstone defence held strong, thwarting the threat.

Subsequently, Jamie Seniles-White’s accurate long balls created two openings. The first found Josh Staunton, whose header missed the target by a considerable margin. The second resulted in the most promising chance of the half for the Glovers. Morgan Williams met the delivery with a downward header, only for Lucas Covolan to produce an astonishing save, denying the ball from crossing the goal line.

The second half ushered in a more aggressive Maidstone approach. Lamar Reynolds surged down the right wing, delivering a cross that Will Buse confidently claimed. The Glovers countered with an opportunity of their own as Jamie Sendles-White’s throw-in sparked confusion. Though the ball was cleared, it fell to Matt Worthington, whose shot was deflected away.

Maidstone managed to break the deadlock in the 56th minute. Sam Corne’s corner was directed toward goal by Lamar Reynolds, with Will Buse’s outstretched hand denying him. However, substitute Levi Amantchi reacted quickest, nodding in the opening goal.

In response to the setback, Mark Cooper opted for three attacking substitutions simultaneously, introducing Jordan Young, Rhys Murphy, and Olly Thomas.

With around 20 minutes remaining, a Sendles-White throw-in once again provided a chance. The ball found Frank Nouble, whose volley seemed destined for the far corner before being cleared from danger. Another opportunity fell to Matt Worthington, courtesy of Rhys Murphy’s setup, but his low effort missed the mark.

The Glovers persisted, pushing down the right through Morgan Williams. His driven cross towards Rhys Murphy resulted in a corner after being deflected behind.

In the 83rd minute, Rhys Murphy rose to the occasion, securing the equaliser. Lucas Covolan flapped at Charlie Cooper’s corner, allowing Murphy to fire through a cluster of players and find the back of the net.

Maidstone nearly regained the lead shortly after the equaliser. A free-kick from the right found George Fowler, whose header from six yards out sailed over the bar. Despite this chance, the Glovers maintained momentum, pinning Maidstone in their own half. Olly Thomas, a thorn in the side since his introduction, cut in from the right and fired a shot, unfortunately colliding with the boot of Jordan Young.

During the seven minutes of injury time, Olly Thomas embarked on another run down the right wing, with Rhys Murphy in support. However, a challenge from George Fowler resulted in a scuffle, unseen by referee Lewis Sandoe. This incident disrupted the Glovers’ rhythm, and time eventually ran out for them to mount a late winning effort.

The draw preserves the Glovers’ sixth-place standing and extends their unbeaten run to three matches.