MAIDSTONE UNITED 2-3 TRANMERE ROVERS: Dramatic late Adam Buxton penalty sees Rovers continue National League promotion charge

By George Williamson

  • Late Adam Buxton penalty earns all three points
  • Two goals in two minutes spared Tranmere’s blushes
  • Maidstone had led through Alex Finney and Ross Lafayette
  • Andy Cook, Finney (OG) and Buxton (Pen) send Rovers 3rd

A dramatic late penalty from Adam Buxton completed a second-half comeback against Maidstone that could re-ignite Tranmere’s National League promotion charge after they slipped up against Macclesfield in midweek.

With Maidstone leading 2-1 heading into the final five minutes, Rovers struck an equaliser when Alex Finney turned the ball into his own net, and within seconds the Super Whites had turned the game on its head and stolen all three points when Buxton converted a stonewall penalty.

With Steve McNulty, Liam Ridehalgh, Eddie Clarke and Josh Ginnelly all unavailable for the contest, Rovers fielded a much-changed team that included Jack Dunn, debutant Manny Monthe and Jeff Hughes as an emergency left-back, and they started the brighter of the two sides, with Jay Harris testing Lee Worgan in the first chance of the game.

Ollie Norburn dragged a shot wide minutes later, but it was Delano Sam-Yorke who had the first big opportunity of the game when he pounced on an error by Buxton but couldn’t steer his shot on target.

Shortly before the half-hour mark, Maidstone drew first blood when Scott Davies’ weak punch was headed back across goal. The ball hit the bar, before Finney eventually put the ball back in the net to give United the lead, but Rovers struck back ten minutes later, when Andy Cook tapped in Buxton’s excellent cross.

Tranmere were level for only a minute though when, just seconds after the restart, Harris and Buxton combined to commit a foul in the penalty area, and Ross Lafayette converted to send Maidstone in with the lead at the break.

A quieter second half saw Rovers push forward without creating many clear-cut chances, with Dunn, James Norwood and Buxton coming closest for the trailing visitors.

micky bromley

Adam Buxton converted the crucial late penalty to give Rovers all three points against Maidstone.

With seven minutes remaining, Cook headed a Dunn cross over the bar in what was the biggest opportunity of the second half, but it was also the moment that seemed to kick Rovers into life.

Minutes later, they were level for the second time when Dunn’s cross took a deflection off the unfortunate Finney in the area, wrong-footed Worgan and flew into the net.

And just like in the first half, that goal was followed up by a stonewall penalty incident just seconds later.

This time it was Connor Jennings who was hacked down, and Rovers had a huge chance to steal all three points from Maidstone’s clutches.

Buxton stepped up, unnerved, and put the ball in the corner to send the travelling support into a state of euphoria.

The win sees Rovers climb to 3rd, seven points off the top but six points inside the play-off places.

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