Tomorrow we continue our FA Cup journey as we host National League South side Maidstone United at Silver Jubilee Park.
The decision imposed on us by the FA not to allow visiting supporters into the ground has been well covered elsewhere, however we do look forward to welcoming the players and officials of the Stones to Silver Jubilee Park tomorrow afternoon as they kick-off their competitive campaign.
The last time we hosted Maidstone was at Earlsmead in what was a thrilling battle between two sides going hammer and tongs at the Isthmian League title. On that occasion, goals from Andre da Costa, with a stunning free kick, and a Sam Murphy penalty saw the Greens wrestle control of the title race away from the Stones, however draws in the run-in at Margate and Grays saw Maidstone regain control and eventually win the title by 3 points.
That win at Earlsmead wasn't in fact the last time the two sides met. In August 2015 we travelled to the Gallagher Stadium to contest the Isthmian League Charity Shield and were well beaten 4-0, a match most memorable for Elliott Brathwaite picking up an injury that would keep him out for the next 18-months.
Since our title battle the Stones' fortunes have very much peaked and troughed. Their rise back to the top of the Non-League game following their reformation in 1992 was completed in 2016 following a play-off final win over Ebbsfleet United to complete successive promtions.
Their spell in the National League lasted 3 seasons with a healthy 14th place finish in 2016/7 being followed by a 19th place finish the following campaign before finishing bottom in 2019 and being relegated back into the National League South.
Former manager John Still, along with current boss Hakan Hayrettin stabilised the ship with the latter seeing the club finish the curtailed 2019/20 season in 9th place in the National League South. One of a handful of full-time sides in that division, they will no doubt be looking to push on this time around and challenge for a play-off spot at the very minimum.
Hendon and the original Maidstone United did meet in the FA Cup back in 1974, less than a year after the trip to Newcastle United. The Stones won 2-0 on that occasion, ending a run of 15 straight Hendon wins in matches between the two sides.
The first meeting between the clubs came in March 1958 in an Athenian League match that was won by the Stones 3-1. Just a week later Hendon gained revenge by winning 4-1 at Claremont Road. Throughout the 1960s the clubs regularly met in the Isthmian League before the Stones moved to the Southern League in 1971.
Our competitive record against the 'old' Maidstone United was:
Goals For 56
Goals Against 21
Since reformation, our competitive record reads:
Goals For 27
Goals Against 24
With plenty at stake tomorrow promises to be an interesting tie and a very good test for Lee Allinson's men.