By Nathan Hodge

Maidstone managed to hold out for the draw. A match with a lack of chances or entertainment value saw it finish goalless and a replay at the Gallagher Stadium.

The FA Trophy game against Maidstone came off the back of last weekend’s poor 2-0 defeat to Aldershot.

With the Wood unable to overcome Aldershot last weekend, Luke Garrard made several changes to the side who started at the Recreation Ground. Conor Clifford was absent. Whilst Ben Nunn and Jamie Lucas moved to the bench with Matt Paine and Ricky Shakes. However, an injury in the warm-up forced the returning Morgan Ferrier out of the squad moving Lucas back into the starting eleven and Daniel Uchechi back on to the bench.

Both teams tried to get the breakthrough but unfortunately neither could find the back of the net.

In fact, there was a lack of chances from both sides even though there were a lot of opportunities to create in the first half.

Wood’s Bruno Andrade and Angelo Balanta tried to create chances and Anthony Jeffrey in the second half also tried to get the Wood the breakthrough but it just wasn’t to be.

It was a wet and windy afternoon at Meadow Park as the match started with an early scare for Wood as Smith came out to collect the ball but was forced to clear out for a Maidstone throw in. The ball was launched deep into the box and forced clear by Wood but only as far as a Maidstone man who put it back into the box leading to another clearance from home side.

Wood struggled to get out of their half in the early stages and the first real chance went to Maidstone 10 minutes in from Bobby-Joe Taylor as his strike from around 25 yards was just over Grant Smith’s bar.

A slow start from the home side finally saw them get into Maidstone’s half as Andrade, with some phenomenal skill, won a free kick on the right-hand side of the box but goalkeeper Lee Worgan easily picked the ball out of the air.

This seemed to have sparked life into the Wood as they started looking more and more threatening. Bobby-Joe Taylor threw himself in front of a Balanta shot outside the box just before Wood attacked again through Balanta and Andrade who looked sharp throughout.

Maidstone finally looked to break away but could not get a shot in as Smith and his defence dealt with their crosses into the box.

After 25 minutes Jeffery’s cross was met by Andrade who headed it back to Balanta whose shot was deflected wide for a corner.

The corner was then cleared but Maidstone were straight away under pressure again as Andrade’s skills beat a man in the middle, before finding Balanta on the right-hand side. He then put a cross onto the head of Lucas whose header was just over the bar. Wood were getting corners and free kicks more regularly on the right-hand side but still struggled to test Lee Worgan

After 38 minutes and with still only 2 shots on target in the game Maidstone tried to increase that down Wood’s right hand side before the ball was cleared for a throw in. Flisher got the ball into the box from the throw but Wood cleared to Taylor who forced a fantastic save from the feet of Smith.

Maidstone were still on the attack at this time and Sweeney hit one from outside the box that deflected wide for a corner. The corner was deflected behind for yet another United corner and finally Taylor’s attempted cross flew over everyone for a goal kick.

Wood’s skipper Mark Ricketts was injured when he committed a foul on the half way line and, after a lengthy break for treatment, was booked for his trouble. He was able to continue in the second half.

Early in the in the second half Wood looked to put Maidstone straight under pressure with Jeffery causing them problems down the left. Indeed most of the Wood attacks at this stage featured Jeffrey who lashed one shot just wide of the far post.

Femi Ilesanmi also featured well for the Wood setting up several attacks including more for the dangerous Jeffery and another for Lucas who just failed to connect.

After this pressure from the Wood, Maidstone looked to get back into the game with a cross whipped in from the right-hand side which Smith saved.

Wood continued to create chances as the game neared its end with Ilesanmi and Jeffery remaining key to the Wood’s hopes. Maidstone also forced some corners but the Wood defence coped fairly easily with them.

Wood piled on further pressure towards the end but were unable to find the winner which means a trip to Gallagher Stadium where Luke Garrard’s side will look to progress to the next round of the competition.



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