Monday, 16 May 2016


Maidstone United continued their rapid rise up the non-league football pyramid on Saturday with an amazing victory on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw at Kent rival's Ebbsfleet United. The score was 2-1 with the game edging towards injury time in extra time only for ex Grays Athletic Dumebi Dumaka to score after a scramble in the box which sparked wild scenes of celebration on the Maidstone United section of terracing. The Stones won 4-3 on penalties.

The Stones team included Lee Worgan, Tom Mills, Jamie Coyle, James Rogers, Jay May, Callum Davies and Will Godman all of whom had played a part in the 0-3 defeat to Enfield Town in 2015. They also included Vas Karagiannis (signed from Ryman Premier Leatherhead), the previously mentioned Dumaka who was signed from Grays Atheltic and Alex Flisher who was with the club during their Ryman League days but was injured for most of last season. He is a product of the club's youth system.

Since moving back to their home town and The Gallagher Stadium in 2012 they have finished 2nd in the Ryman Division One South where they were promoted via the play-offs, 7th in the Ryman Premier, winners of the Ryman Premier and now promoted to non-league's top table via the play-offs in the Vanarama South Division. 

Manager Jay Saunders took over on a caretaker basis in March 2011 with the club struggling at the bottom of the Ryman Premier Division eight points from safety ground-sharing at Ashford Town. Five wins from nine games couldn't prevent The Stones being relegated back to Divison One (South) but he was given the job full time.   

Saunder's success is another great example of a club giving a young manager a chance of building a team and squad and not pushing the panic button when things didn't go as well as expected - they finished sixth in D1S in his first full season in charge.

From the club reforming as Maidstone Invicta from the ashes of the former Maidstone United in 1992 joining the Fourth Division (West) of the Kent County League in 1993/94 they are now only one step away from a return to the football league the old club were members of from 1989 to their demise in 1992.

The Gallagher Stadium now holds just over 3,000 people and it will be packed out for every home game next season when they entertain the likes of Lincoln City, Wrexham, Tranmere Rovers, Dagenham & Redbridge and York City amongst others. 

Ebbsfleet United were top of the table for most of the season and 4/7 odds on favourites for the title when they had three games to play. They will have to go again in the Vanarama South next season in an attempt to win promotion back to the Vanarama Premier. 

The Vanarama National League will be very interesting next season with many clubs looking to gain promotion to the football league like Cheltenham Town and Grimbsy Town did this campaign


Aldershot Town 
Boreham Wood 
Braintree Town 
Dagenham and Redbridge (relegated from League Two)
Dover Athletic 
Forest Green Town 
Lincoln City 
Macclesfield Town 
Maidstone United (promoted from Vanarama South)
North Ferriby United (promoted from Vanarama North)
Solihull Moors (promoted from Vanarama North) 
Sutton United (promoted from Vanarama South) 
Tranmere Rovers 
Torquay United 
York City (relegated from League Two) 

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