Stones toppled by stubborn Beavers
The Beavers took advantage of some poor Maidstone play to get two early goals and then managed to hold on for the much needed win and three points.
Hampton served an early warning to their table topping opponents on 10 minutes as Charlie Moone managed to pry open the Stones defence, with Jamie Colvin at his shoulder, to create a two on one with defender Tom Mills, but a good tackle dispossessed Moone and the Stones recovered.
The opening goal will haunt Maidstone keeper Lee Worgan's nights, such was his error on 14 minutes. He sprinted out to outside the right hand edge of the penalty area to punt clear a long pass; to his horror, the clearance landed at the feet of debutant Jamie Calvin, the young striker kept his cool and from 25 yards, he clipped the ball into the goal with Worgan still some way from his line.
On 20 minutes, Charlie Moone thought he'd doubled the Beavers lead as he bundled home a far post cross past Worgan, but belatedly, the assistant flagged for an infringement which could well have been for the ball hitting Moone's hand as it fell.
However, on 26 minutes, Charlie Moone did get his goal. A long ball forward was headed back down by Calvin, to Moone's feet. His shot from 20 yards beat Worgan's right hand and went into the net off the inside of the post.
The Beavers were clearly forcing the issue but 10 minutes later, the game was turned upside down.
Frantz Ngassa had looked comfortable partnering Kieran Murphy in the centre of defence, and on 35 minutes, he chased back to attempt to dispossess Jay May as they both went for the bouncing ball. The tackle looked no worse than a free kick, but surprisingly, even to the Maidstone supporters, the referee waved the red card at Ngassa for what could only have been in his eyes, a goalscoring opportunity. To many in the ground, it was questionable to say the least.
The dynamics changed as Maidstone clearly felt they could rescue the game, but Mark Smith in the Beavers goal was in no mood to let them.
On 39 minutes, he beat away Alex Brown's goal bound shot and then made an excellent save at the end of the half, in a goalmouth scramble that saw shots cleared off the Beavers line before the half-time whistle went.
Obviously Maidstone manager Jay Saunders was not happy with his players as they were sent out some 5 minutes or so before the Beavers and the officials appeared, but the Beavers made two early changes to bolster the midfield, Charlie Moone and Tom Collins being replaced by Ben Osman and James Simmonds.
Maidstone had very little joy in the early part of the second half as the Hampton defence held firm and just before the hour, the Beavers could have killed the game as James Simmonds led a fast counter attack that was only disrupted by Calvin drifting offside and leaving Simmonds little option but to attempt a chip that Worgan saved.
With 20 minutes to go, it was not looking good for Maidstone, but they got a huge stroke of luck. A Billy Bricknell header looked to have been saved on the line by Smith, but the assistant that ruled out Moone's goal then waved his flag to indicated the ball had crossed the line, which was a surprise to everyone as Smith appeared to be just laid on the back edge of the line with the ball out in front of him.
The Stones gathered confidence from their outrageous stroke of luck and started to press hard but Mark Smith was again in an obdurate mood. He first blocked Ben Greenhalgh's shot on 76 minutes and then comfortably saved Brown's effort some 5 minutes later.
For the visitors, Frannie Collins was playing out wide on the right and on 83 minutes, his cross was met at the back post by May, whose powerful volley flew over the bar and into the Simpson Stand.
Although Jake Rose managed to force a slight error out of Worgan, the shot ricochetting a long way from the keeper with 5 minutes left, the last word fell to the Stones as May's injury time attempt, as the Stones tried desperately for an equaliser, was wide enough to leave Smith in no trouble.
The Beavers can take pride in the fact that all of the top three this season have come to Beveree, and in the end, have left with nothing.
Hampton & Richmond Borough (2) 2
Jamie Calvin 14'
Charlie Moone 27'
Ngassa dismissed 35'
Maidstone Utd (0)1
Billy Bricknell 71'
Hampton & Richmond Borough: 1 Mark Smith, 2 Marcus Johnson-Schuster, 3 Tom Jelley, 4 Frantz Tchongang Ngassa, 5 Kieran Murphy, 6 Kevant Serbony, 7 Tom Collins (James Simmonds 46'), 8 Jake Rose, 9 Jamie Calvin (Saheed Sankoh 77'), 10 Charlie Moone (Ben Osman 46') , 11 George Wells
Subs: 12 Saheed Sankoh, 14 Ben Osman, 16 Paris Mason, 17 James Richmond, 18 James Simmonds
Maidstone United: 1 Lee Worgan, 2 Craig Stone (Ben Greenhalgh 71'), 3 Tom Mills, 4 Steve Watt, 5 Sonny Miles, 6 James Rogers (Jack Parkinson 77'), 7 Billy Bricknell, 8 Alex Brown , 9 Jay May, 10 Frannie Collin, 11 George Porter
Subs: 12 Ben Greenhalgh, 14 Jamie Coyle, 15 Matt Bodkin, 16 Jack Parkinson, 21 Will Godmon