The Non-League Football Paper - - VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Ruth Tun­nell

ALEX FIN­NEY’S dra­matic 95th-minute win­ner spelt heartache for Ch­ester and pro­pelled plucky Maid­stone United into the Na­tional League play-off places.

Cen­tre-back Fin­ney ri­fled home from Jai Rea­son’s cor­ner to spark joy­ous scenes at the Gal­lagher Sta­dium and end a match which both man­agers felt they de­served to win.

“I didn’t think the break­through was go­ing to come,” ad­mit­ted Stones chief Jay Saun­ders. “Over the 90 min­utes we were the bet­ter side and de­served the win.

“We went for it at the end with four for­wards on the pitch and fun­nily enough it was a cen­tre half who got the goal.”

Un­til the last-gasp win­ner, the vis­i­tors had looked des­tined for a point thanks to a well-or­gan­ised de­fen­sive dis­play. No won­der man­ager Mar­cus Big­not was left de­flated af­ter­wards.

“Any­one would be pleased to come here and put in a per­for­mance like that,” he added. “I thought we had done enough to get a point.”

In truth, it was Maid­stone who looked the stronger of the two sides through­out, al­most open­ing the scor­ing in the early ex­changes.

Seth Nana Twu­masi fed Zavon Hines who cut inside be­fore smashing a goal­bound ef­fort which Ch­ester keeper Alex Lynch did well to push wide.

Ch­ester then started to get a foothold in the game and they nearly cap­i­talised on a de­fen­sive er­ror.

Keeper Lee Wor­gan came to claim the ball but he ac­ci­den­tally spilled it out­side of his area. The ball broke to Jor­dan Archer 20 yards from goal but Alex Wyn­ter man­aged to make an im­por­tant block. Then three min­utes be­fore the break, Maid­stone came within inches of go­ing ahead when a Hines free-kick found its way to Stu­art Lewis, whose de­flected low drive ric­o­cheted off the right hand post be­fore be­ing gath­ered by Lynch. The game con­tin­ued in a sim­i­lar vein af­ter the break with the Stones look­ing the more likely to score un­til four min­utes into stop­page time. Lu­cas Daw­son’s free-kick into the area was met by John McCombe and his header only just missed the target. But with the ref­eree’s whis­tle im­mi­nent, Rea­son’s cor­ner came out to Fin­ney, who showed com­po­sure to ri­fle through a crowded box and beyond the stranded Lynch.

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