Kenyan striker on cloud nine as minnows Maidstone dump Ipswich out of FA Cup

STARS ABROAD Kenyan striker on cloud nine as minnows Maidstone dump Ipswich out of FA Cup

Mark Kinyanjui 18:38 - 27.01.2024

The forward's Maidstone pulled yet another upset as they dumped Ipswich United out of the FA Cup.

Harambee Stars prospect Solomon Wanjau-Smith’s Maidstone United continued to cause more shocks as they dumped English Football League (EFL) Championship side Ipswich Town out of the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Wanjau-Smith was, unfortunately, missing after picking up an injury during their third-round win over Stevenage, but is now set to play in the fifth round, a huge achievement. 

“I told the boys they had to help me out, boy did they deliver,” Wanjau-Smith wrote on his X (formerly Twitter) handle.

The sixth-tier side sit almost 100 places below their opponents in the English pyramid and few gave them a chance of avoiding defeat against Ipswitch

Maidstone needed to thank keeper Lucas Covolan who was outstanding as he made a series of saves to prevent them from conceding before they scored their opening goal through Lamar Reynolds with what was their first attempt at goal.

Ipswich restored parity through Jeremy Sarmiento’s second-half equaliser for the team sitting second in the Championship. 

But Maidstone rocked Ipswich again by reclaiming the lead through Sam Corne’s composed finish to achieve the most unlikely of victories.

Wanjau-Smith kicked off Maidstone’s FA Cup campaign with a hat-trick in a 4-1 second qualifying round win at Steyning back in September.

They have won six matches to reach the fourth round proper, also seeing off Winchester, Torquay, Chesham, and Barrow before beating League One promotion hopefuls Stevenage.

For Wanjau-Smith, a place in the last 32 was an extraordinary achievement given his background in the competition, but the fact that they have made the Round of 16 is now even more commendable.

“I’ve played for teams that don’t even get in the FA Cup and I’ve played in the extra preliminary round,” he said as quoted on Kent Online.

“Craig Fagan (Maidstone assistant) didn’t even know it existed, the preliminary round, let alone the extra preliminary round, so it’s absolutely massive to get this far.

“I think the first round proper was the biggest game of my career so to be in the fourth round, it’s crazy.”

Although born and raised in England. Wanjau-Smith has already declared he would be open to a Harambee Stars call-up in future.

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