MAIDSTONE UNITED v BILLERICAY TOWN
Ebbsfleet 0-0 Maidstone
National League South
Tuesday 17 November 2020
P15 W6 D3 L6 F19 A20
Saturday 21 November 2020, 3:00pm
James Whatman Way
Saturday 21 November 2020
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The original Maidstone United were formed in 1897 and were founder members of the Alliance Premier League (now the National League Premier Division) in 1979 and won the title in 1984. They failed to gain election to the Football League but won the title again in 1989 and were automatically promoted.
The financial burden that was placed on the club to gain promotion and retain their place in the Football League eventually resulted in them resigning from the League and going in to liquidation.
Maidstone Invicta were a youth club which was taken over soon after the club folded. The stepped up to the Kent County League for the 1993-94 season. The new club played at the old club’s reserve and youth ground.
The Fourth Division was won at the first attempt and a restructuring gave them a place in the Second Division.
In 1997 Maidstone Invicta became Maidstone United. They were promoted to the Premier Division in 1999 and in 2001 finished as runners-up and successfully apply for senior status.
In 2001 they entered the F.A. Vase, reaching the Second Round before they were beaten 3-0 and Mildenhall Town.
They started a groundshare at Sittingbourne’s Central Park as they made the step two levels up the football pyramid to join the Kent League and they quickly became a force in the league.
As Sittingbourne moved to a new ground at Bourne Park, Maidstone followed them and would stay as tenants until 2009.
They won the Kent League and League Cup in 2002, repeating the feat in 2006. It was in 2002 that the club entered the F.A. Cup, beating Ramsgate and then Tonbridge Angels on their way to the Second Qualifying Round. They ended the 2002-03 season as runners-up in the Kent League.
In 2006 they won the Kent League again and stepped up to the Isthmian League Division One South.
The club competed in the F.A. Trophy in 2006-07 beating Chelmsford City in the in the First Qualifying Round before being beaten by Ashford United. They also won Division One South and were promoted in to the Premier Division.
It was during the 2007-08 season that Billericay Town and Maidstone United first met. The first fixture took place at New Lodge on 29 September 2007 in the Second Qualifying Round of the F.A. Cup.
Joe Flack scored twice for The Blues as they won 2-0.
The Stones were back at New Lodge on 9 October for the first league meeting between the two. Tony Boot, Joe Flack, Lee Hodges and Bradley Woods-Garness scored in a 4-0 win for Town.
The last meeting of the season was another league fixture. Billy Bricknell scored the first of his 105 Billericay Town goals as The Blues won 1-0.
It was during 2007 that Maidstone promoted a youth team player, Chris Smalling, to the first team. He would end the season with 11 appearances and 1 goal before he was transferred to Middlesbrough. His contract was cancelled and he moved to Fulham.
In 2010 he moved to Manchester United and in 2019 joined Roma on loan in Serie A. Whilst with Man U Smalling won two Premier League titles, an F.A. Cup, League Cup and Europa League title. He also won the Community Shield three times.
A new groundshare began in 2009 as The Stones moved in with Ashford Town, becoming sole tenants the following season. They moved back in with Sittingbourne in 2011.
In 2011 Maidstone were relegated back to Division One South, but were promoted as runners-up in 2013.
The Stones finally got their own home in 2012 when they moved in to the new James Whatman Way Stadium in Maidstone.
It was the 2014-15 season that Maidstone reached the First Qualifying Round for the first time. Welling United were beaten 2-1 to give The Stones an away fixture at Stevenage in the First Round Proper. A goalless draw meant a replay in Kent and United won the match 2-1.
They were rewarded with another away match, travelling to Wales to face Wrexham. The Welshman won the match 3-1.
This was also the season they won the Isthmian League title, finishing three points ahead of Hendon.
A season later and they finished third in the National League South and went in to the play-offs. Truro City were beaten 3-0 over two legs and a Final, against Ebbsfleet United ended in a 2-2 draw. The Stones won the penalty shoot-out 4-3.
The following season ended with a 14th place league finish, it was their highest back in the National League Premier Division. They were relegated in 2019.
Maidstone’s 2017-18 F.A. Trophy campaign was the best since their formation. Woking were beaten in the First Round, followed by Oxford City. National League Premier side Salford City were drawn in the Third Round.
Salford had been in the media regularly since they were taken over by several former Manchester United players. The Stones left Greater Manchester with a 1-1 draw, but won the replay 3-0 to reach the Quarter -Finals.
Another away match, this time at National League North Stockport County, ended in a draw. County won the replay in Kent 3-0.
They reached the F.A. Cup First Round again for the next two seasons, but reached the Second Round for the following three seasons. In 2017 they were drawn away to League Two club Cheltenham Town and beat them 4-2. The Stones were knocked out in the next round by MK Dons.
In 2018 Harry Wheeler was appointed as First Team Manager, having left Billericay Town. He signed Jake Robinson from The Blues and Jamar Loza moved to New Lodge with Jack Paxman.
Last season they beat Torquay United in the First Round of the F.A. Cup but lost in the Second Round to Blackpool.
The Stones and The Blues met once las season. The match, in Kent, ended with a 2-1 win to Maidstone after Doug Loft gave Town the lead.
The second fixture between the two was due to be played in February but heavy rains had water-logged to New Lodge pitch and the match was postponed.
Maidstone were ninth in the table when the season was suspended, five points behind Dorking Wanderers who were occupying the last play-off spot, but The Stones had played two matches less.
Amongst Maidstone’s squad are former Blues Joe Ellul and Kresh Krasniqi.
Joe first came to New Lodge the 2015-16 season, returning two seasons later. He scored 6 goals in his time with Town.
Kresh made 36 starts for The Blues during the 2016-17 season, and 14 appearances from the bench.