Kenyan striker helps minnows Maidstone United continue dream FA Cup run with victory over Stevenage

STARS ABROAD Kenyan striker helps minnows Maidstone United continue dream FA Cup run with victory over Stevenage

Mark Kinyanjui 20:40 - 06.01.2024

Wanjau-Smith, who has already declared a willingness to represent Harambee Stars in future, helped inspire Sixth-tier side Maidstone United to a dream victory over Stevenage in the Third Round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Harambee Stars prospect Solomon Wanjau-Smith helped sixth-tier Maidstone United pull a shock to knock League One side Stevenage out of the FA Cup to reach the fourth round for the first time in their history.

Wanjau started the game and lasted for 79 minutes before coming off for Raphe Brown in the 79th minute as Maidstone aimed to protect their lead. 

The Kenyan winger-cum-striker has scored eight goals in all competitions for Maidstone so far this season.

Sam Corne sent Maidstone ahead from the spot late in the first half after Louis Thompson brought down Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong.

The visitors pressured but could not find an equaliser as Corne's penalty wrapped up a stunning win for George Elokobi's side.

Maidstone came into the match fourth in the National League South table, 10 points behind leaders Yeovil Town, but had pulled off another huge scalp as they beat Barrow in the second round.

Their victory against Stevenage means they reach the fourth round for the first time since their reformation in 1992 - becoming the first sixth-tier side to reach that stage since Kidderminster Harriers in 2021-22 and the first National League South side since Havant & Waterlooville in 2007-08.

It took an inspired Maidstone performance against the League One promotion-chasers and Corne had earlier linked up with Lamar Reynolds, who headed straight at visiting keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond, before the pair combined on the half-hour mark with Reynolds scuffing another effort.

Stevenage hit back soon after, however, as Piergianni had an effort of his own cleared off the line when he got his head on to Ben Thompson's corner.

Hemmings led Stevenage's second-half revival and he was denied an equaliser by a fine save from Stones keeper Lucas Covolan, with Reid and Hemmings both hitting the woodwork.

Steve Evans' side did not see their late dominance rewarded however, with former Wolves defender Elokobi masterminding an impressive defensive effort to keep out a side ranked 69 league places above them and seal their place in Monday's draw.

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