Match Preview – Wealdstone vs Maidstone – The Vale Sat 21st – Game On!

Battle of The Stones’ returns on Saturday when in-form Wealdstone welcome fellow promotion-pushers Maidstone United for a mouth-watering clash at The Vale.  

The hosts are in the middle of a truly blistering run of form that has seen them take 22 points out of the last 24 available, including victories away to three of the top six teams, and they sit two points off the top with two games in hand.  

Their opponent’s lie just three places back, six points comfortably inside the play-off positions and also with games to play on sides around them. United’s two league defeats all season is bettered only by Wealdstone themselves.  

This will in fact be the fourth meeting between these two teams already this campaign, and after a score-draw in the season opener and Maidstone’s FA Trophy triumph courtesy of a replay, Gordon Bartlett’s Stones are nothing if not due a win against their Kent counterparts.  

Wealdstone recorded back-to-back away victories when they ran out 3-1 winners at Bognor Regis Town last weekend. Goals from Glen Little, Tom Pett and Johnny Wright sealed the points to move them ever closer to the summit of the Ryman Premier League.  Maidstone Prog cover 21 Dec 13

Maidstone slipped to their first defeat in seven matches when they were beaten 2-0 away to fourth-placed Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday night. Nyren Clunis and Jerome Walker’s efforts either side of the interval ultimately condemned Jay Saunders’ side to their first league defeat since late August.  

Gordon Bartlett should mostly have a full squad to select from with Jonathan North returned and James Hammond will have served his suspension, but, Scott McCubbin, who made a surprise come back last weekend could be an injury doubt.  

United have a number of injury concerns ahead of the game, with Steve Hill, Jerome Sobers, Michael Phillips, Orlando Smith and Rory Hill all currently occupying the treatment room. 

With just five points separating the top five teams, this is an immensely significant fixture for both of these clubs. Wealdstone are simply flying; Bartlett’s side are in a remarkable purple patch right now, especially given the strength of opposition they’ve been beating, and a triumph on Saturday ensures they continue to carry their momentum into a hectic festive schedule.  

Maidstone’s mid-week defeat will have them hurting; it’s not a feeling they’ve been used to this season, and facing a team in second-place, but well within their sights, presents them with the perfect way to bounce back. The Battle of The Stones IV isn’t one to be missed.   

By Matt Desai