Stones hold on to leave City empty-handed

City gave title chasing Maidstone United a scare at the Gallagher Stadium this afternoon with a late rally but the Romans ended up on the wrong end of the 2-1 scoreline. A simple tap-in in both halves looked to have given the Stones a comfortable, if not particularly convincing, win but with six minutes left Elliott Frear’s great volley gave City a lifeline. However, despite pressing the home side back after this City couldn’t grab a deserved share of the points. A 3rd minute chance for Maidstone saw Clarke save Luque’s free-kick, Dan Ball doing superbly to block a follow up effort, but once City had weathered this early pressure they began to give as good as they got. Their best chance saw Tom Smith test Mersin with a low shot, after Ben Seymour initial effort had been blocked. It looked as if the game would reach half time goalless but on 42 minutes a free-kick was turned back across goal for Barham to net from close range. The second half continued with little to choose between the sides but with fifteen minutes left Corne got in behind City’s defence. Clarke denied him only for the loose ball to fall for Luque to roll it into the empty net. Moments after Bettamer had seen his header hit the bar with Clarke beaten, Frear steered Alex Fletcher’s flick past Mersin on the volley. Half chances for Callum Rowe and Smith came and went and, with a last throw of the dice, Clarke came up for a corner only to be punished for handling the cross and shortly afterwards the whistle brought relief to the increasingly nervous large home support.