Wealdstone 3 Maidstone United 2
Wealdstone racked up their fourth successive Ryman Premier League win thanks to fine goals from their young guns, on-loan Marvin Sordell and Graeme Montgomery, while what proved to be the winner was scored by journeyman Davis Haule.
"It was another good win against a team up at the top," said manager Gordon Bartlett, who saw his side rise to tenth in the table on goal difference, prior to Tuesday night's raft of matches and their trip to Horsham last night (Wednesday). "The two early goals we scored in either half were important, as it put Maidstone on the back foot. They had the better of the first half and we needed something to knock them back and we got it."
Despite the Stones' dramatic upturn in results, Bartlett insists terrace talk of the play-offs is a little premature.
"We're keeping our feet on the ground," he added. "We're pleased with the current run and long may it continue. A month ago the word around the ground was 'relegation' - now it is 'play offs'. But we just want to be somewhere in between for now and then build on that. I'll be happier when the win column in the table is better that the defeats column."
Wealdstone's new-found confidence has also been spilling over onto the training ground.
"The competitiveness in training is almost like a Saturday, with tackles flying in and the will to win," said Bartlett. "These are the standards we are looking for all the time. The boys are playing with smiles on their faces, as we're playing with a winning mentality.
"On Saturday we showed a little bit of steel, which was perhaps lacking earlier in the season. There was more desire and that guile in front of goal."
The Grosvenor Vale crowd had hardly settled into their seats when the Stones took the lead. A lightning attack immediately from the kick-off saw Marvin Sordell net his first goal for the club inside the first 30 seconds.
However, Maidstone hit back and enjoyed the lion's share of possession, without really troubling Alan Massey and James Gray in the heart of the home defence.
Stones protected their lead until the interval, before stunning United with another early goal at the start of the second half. Haule robbed United of possession before sweeping the ball out wide for Montgomery, whose first-time shot flew past United stopper Walker.
Maidstone halved the deficit through James Pinnock's 20-yard drive, which prompted a worrying spell for Stones as they conceded free kicks in dangerous areas of the field.
And just when you sensed United might have managed another goal, back up popped Haule to restore Stones' two-goal lead after 68 minutes. The big man latched onto the ball just outside the box before sending a shot home.
Bartlett freshened things up with the introduction of Kieron Forbes and Marvin McCoy, replacing David Hicks and Montgomery respectively, but watched on nervously as goalkeeper Luke Woods was forced to ride to the rescue several times.
That pressure paid off a minute from normal time, when Meshach Nugent managed to loop a deflected ball over Woods. Ben Clarke replaced Sordell and Stones ran down the clock for another victory.
* Wealdstone: Woods, Martin, Chappell, Gray, Massey, Ashe, Hicks, O'Leary,Haule,Sordell, Montgomery.