Stevenage manager Steve Evans was full of praise for their FA Cup opposition Maidstone United, after the National League South side caused one of the upsets of the round.
Maidstone, who currently sit in fifth in the National League South had home field advantage, and they used that effectively to surpass Steve Evans’ side 1-0 in their FA Cup clash.
The win earns the Stones a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history. It is not the first time in which George Elokobi’s side have caused an upset this season, having also knocked out League Two high-flyers Barrow in the second round.
Progressing into the fourth round could see the Stones face a Premier League side, something that fans will no doubt be hoping for, perhaps more importantly though, it will bring huge sums of money to the club.
To Maidstone’s credit, they showed the fight that you’d expect from an underdog in a cup tie, but they also put in a performance worthy of the win. It was somewhat of a flat performance from Stevenage, who will now be fully focused on the league with all cup distractions out of their way.
Stevenage manager Steve Evans wanted to credit his opposition after the match rather than look at the performance that his players put in.
Speaking to Kent Online post-match, Evans put plenty of praise on Elokobi’s side.
“What I’ve said to them is they’ve been a credit to their football club, a credit to themselves and I hope they get their ample rewards in the draw, I really do.”
“For us, I don’t think we gave enough respect on the pitch. “Not meaningfully but I don’t think we gave enough respect in the first half.
“Certainly, Maidstone looked the better team than us in the first half.
“I don’t know if it’s a penalty – it certainly looks a penalty – but I need to look at it back, and then second half you just give them something to hold on to.
“You cannot imagine that you don’t take one of six or seven but we didn’t so congratulations to George (Elokobi) and Maidstone.”
All eyes will now be on the fourth-round draw taking place on Monday night with Maidstone the lowest-ranked side left in the competition. They will however not be the only non-league side in the draw, with National League side Eastleigh forcing Newport County into a replay.
The only other non-league side left in the competition are Aldershot Town, who will be looking to upset West Bromwich Albion on Sunday afternoon.
The win for Maidstone truly exemplifies the magic of the FA Cup and how it is the greatest domestic cup in world football. It would be great to see Maidstone earn themselves a home draw to a Premier League side in the fourth round, as teams who are used to playing on grass have evidently struggled on the artificial pitch at the Gallagher Stadium.
As for Stevenage, they now need to reset and shift their focus fully to league football. With plenty of teams still in the hunt for the play-offs they need to put this result behind them and get back to winning ways at the nearest opportunity.