December 9 2013 Latest news:
Greg Miles, Twitter: @greg_KOS_sport
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Maidstone opened the new Gallagher Stadium with 5-0 defeat to the Seagulls
A capacity crowd saw the dawning of a new era for football in Maidstone as Jay Saunders side played their first game in the town for 24 years against Brighton.
It’s a day that many thought they would never see as the club found itself exiled from the town, playing home fixtures in Dartford, Ashford, and Sittingbourne over the last two decades.
Bu they now have a place of their own to call home at the £2.6m Gallgeher Stadium with its 3G astroturf pitch. It meant the game was never in doubt with the torrential rain easily draining off the new surface, unlike at many other games around the county which were called off.
The result was never important yesterday, it was just about the occasion, but as it happens Gus Poyet’s team were comfortable 5-0 winners in the end.
The hosts playing infront of a 2,226 crowd put up a good fight in the opening exchanges and kept the score to 1-0 in the first as Craig Mackail-Smith bundled in from close range after Gary Dicker’s shot hit the underside of the bar.
But the Seagull’s quality shone through after a host of substitutions at the break. Will Hoskins added the second after being played through, and then Ashley Barnes scored a brilliant nine minute hatrick. First he fired in off the post after a neat cut back, then he tucked away a penalty after Thorbjorn Adgestein was fouled on the byline and his third was easily the best as he latched on to a through ball, and delightfully lobbed the ball over the stranded Derek Ibrahim in the Stones’ goal.
Stones manager Saunders said: “It was a brilliant occasion for everyone involved in the club.
“I don’t think you can judge players when you’re playing a team pushing for promotion to the Premiership, it was just about the day today.
“You could see the black and amber everywhere it was fantastic, hopefully we can have a side that can keep challenging and keep people coming back each week.
“At the end of the day every team that comes here will raise there game, it’s a big name, the players are going to have to deal with the pressure and hopfully we can have a good season.”
Chief executive Bill Williams was happy with how the occasion went.
“For me it’s been wonderful, we’ve had a few hiccups, but they are just minor things.” he said. “I think it will only get better.
“We were at capacity 2,226, but I think we could easily have 3,000 in here, everyone was comfortable, we will look at that, and in the future we could start building towards 4,000 or 5,0000.
“This is the start, and hopefully we can win a couple of promotions, get the 3G accepted, there were no complains from the championship side, if we can get past that, hopefully we can get up to Football League status again.”
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