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The Story Behind Maidstone's 4690/1 FA Cup Fairytale

Publish Date:01/02/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland

By beating Ipswich Town, Maidstone United became the first club from outside of the top five divisions of English football to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup since 1977-78 when the Blyth Spartans achieved the feat.

George Elokobi's side have demonstrated tremendous resilience and grit in coming this far and will relish the chance to travel to Coventry or Sheffield Wednesday in a match they are sure to be up against it in.

Having beaten three EFL teams already, The Stones know how to perform against the odds. Hypothetically, if you were to accumulate all their odds from their wins (bar against Steyning) you would get a staggering 4690/1 odds accumulator. While it's all hypothetical and external factors are bound to play a part, it is still astounding. Here, we look at their run and the price they were to win each match.

Third Qualifying Round

Winchester 0-2 Maidstone - 57/100

After defeating Steyning 1-4 in the second qualifying round, Maidstone faced a journey to Southern Premier League South team Winchester - one division below the Stones.

Coincidentally, this turned out to be the only match (odds were available for) that Maidstone went off at odds on. The difference in quality was evident to see, with the Stones running out comfortable 0-2 winners thanks to a second half Levi Amantchi brace.

Torquay 0-2 Maidstone - 33/20

The final qualifying match before the first round proper saw Maidstone travel back to fellow NLS side Torquay just a week after defeating the Gulls 0-1 in the league. With both teams relegated from the National League together - a tight battle was expected.

With Gary Johnson under pressure at Torquay and an expectant home crowd, Maidstone had to be on form to secure progress again. However, it was a familiar outcome from the previous round, with a Levi Amantchi brace securing yet another 0-2 win. The first round and a potential EFL draw awaited eager Stones fans.

Chesham 0-2 Maidstone - 21/20

A trip to Southern Premier League South table toppers made it 4/4 away draws for Maidstone. Despite being seven unbeaten in all competitions, the Stones faced a tough match at the Meadow against an in-form Generals side.

This was reflected in the odds, with bet365 pricing Maidstone as narrow 11/10 favourites. Unsurprisingly, the visitors made it three 0-2 cup wins in a row, with Devonte Aransibia opening the scoring after 12 minutes, before a familiar face was on the scoresheet as Levi Amantchi continued his stellar form, wrapping up the game in the 73rd minute.

Maidstone 2-1 Barrow - 3/1

The Second Round presented Maidstone's toughest challenge yet as high-flying Barrow made the long journey to the Gallagher Stadium.

The Bluebirds were the first EFL opponents in the draw and the League 2 team went off as 91/100 favourites. However, Elokobi's side were adamant they would defy the odds once more.

Ben Whitfield's opener after 20 minutes pitted Maidstone up against it even more, but a Sam Corne goal 15 minutes later lifted home spirits once more.

Bivesh Gurung's goal in the 74th minute lifted the roof off the Gallagher Stadium, making it a nervy final 16 minutes in Kent. Maidstone managed to hold on, progressing to the third round for the first time in their recent history.

Maidstone 1-0 Stevenage - 9/2

The Third Round is where Championship and Premier League teams enter the fray, leading to Stones' fans dreaming of a big trip to Anfield, Old Trafford or the Emirates. However, they were drawn at home to League 1 promotion hopefuls Stevenage.

While it wasn't the big draw they were praying for, a match against a team three leagues above presented a real test for Elokobi's side and one they believed they had a real chance of winning.

And win they did, with Sam Corne scoring a penalty just before half time. A bumper crowd of over 4,000 was in attendance to witness a special night in Maidstone's history.

Ipswich 1-2 Maidstone - 24/1

4,500 Maidstone fans made the 88 mile trip to Ipswich, more in blind hope rather than belief. Former UEFA Cup winners Ipswich were chasing promotion to the Premier League and were 98 places above their National League South opponents in the football pyramid.

The Tractor Boys fielded a strong team that saw Maidstone drift to a massive 24/1 to win. Ipswich, as expected, started on the front foot, hitting the woodwork on multiple occasions.

Remarkably, Maidstone held firm, before the unthinkable happened. A swift counter-attack freed Lamar Reynolds who used his speed and skill to deftly finish past Christian Walton.

The hosts responded just after half time, with the on-loan Jeremy Sarmiento restoring parity. The onslaught on the Stones rearguard continued, with the hero of the last round Sam Corne scoring to make it 2-1. Maidstone survived 24 minutes and eight minutes of added time, to pull off one of the biggest FA Cup scalps of all time.

Ipswich ended the game with 78% possession, 38 shots and 13 on target, compared to Maidstone's two. However, it was the Stones who emerged victorious, showing the beauty of the FA Cup.

What Next?

Maidstone have been drawn away to the winners of Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry in the fifth round. Can Maidstone continue to surprise the nation? What odds will the Stones open at?

 

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