A nod in the right direction from Bichard at Maidstone

Kai Bichard leaps to win the ball against Maidstone.
Kai Bichard leaps to win the ball against Maidstone.

Kai Bichard earned Eastbourne Town a point at league high-flyers Maidstone on Saturday.

The striker’s second half header means Town have still only lost three Ryman Division One South away games this season.

Maidstone took the lead in the 30th minute when Baff Addae produced a superb solo effort.

The winger flew past several Town players before teasing skipper Steve Elliot and unleashing a fierce drive across ‘keeper Kieron Thorp.

On a sticky pitch, Town failed to produce an effort on target in the first half but were galvanised and more assured after the half time break. And just six minutes into the second half, they came close to levelling.

Bichard’s chase of a lost cause was rewarded when he was fouled near the right corner flag. Scott Kirkwood’s delivery was then cleared to Elliot at the back-post, who drilled it dangerously back towards goal and onto Steve May’s head. But the unmarked midfielder guided it over from close range.

But in the 58th minute, a Ross Treleaven long throw from the left was smashed in by Bichard after he lost his marker to meet it at the near post.

Thereafter, Town were in the ascendency and looked the likeliest to grab a winner.

Maidstone, who had lost their two previous games, had ‘keeper John Whitehouse to thank after he produced an outstanding save to ensure the points were shared.

Treleaven swept possession wide to substitute Sam Crabb and continued his run before diving to reach Crabb’s inviting cross. His header looked destined to nestle in the bottom left corner of the net before Whitehouse dived full length to palm the ball away one-handed.

Boss Danny Bloor said, “It was a good point against a side in the play-off positions.”

Bloor admired the late save which denied his side. He said, “It was superb. It came from the best piece of football of the game.

“That’s what you want to see. It was old-fashioned football with a cross in, a header and the goalkeeper making a fantastic save.”

Town face league leaders Bognor Regis Town at home on Tuesday evening before travelling to Kent again next Saturday to take on Sittingbourne, who ground share with Maidstone.

Eastbourne Town: Thorp 7, Denton 7, Storrie 7, Elliot 8, Bichard 7, May 7, Davidson 7, Kirkwood 7 (Brooks 82’ 6), Curd 7 (Geard 78’ 6), Percival 7 (Crabb 72’ 7), Treleaven 7

Subs not used: Simmonds, Fogden Bookings: Storrie, Kirkwood, May Referee: O Berguez

Attendance: 327 ET: Bichard 58’

MoM: Steve Elliot – led his side with strong challenges throughout the game