Maidstone cup run 'will be talked about for years'

Sam Corne of Maidstone United celebrates scoring their sides second goal with team-mates
Sam Corne scored the winner in Maidstone’s 2-1 victory over Ipswich in the FA Cup fourth round

Maidstone United’s Sam Corne says the longer the club’s historic FA Cup run has gone on “the more you start to believe” as they aim to become the lowest-ranked team to reach the quarter-finals.

Now the National League South club are gearing up for a trip to 1987 FA Cup winners Coventry City on Monday, and Corne says the achievement will go down in history regardless of the result.

“We’ll be talking about this cup run for many years to come,” he told BBC Radio Kent.

“It’s brilliant that we’ve achieved it and got this far and hopefully we can go one further.”

Corne scored in the second-round win over League Two Barrow and got the game’s only goal in the third-round victory against League One Stevenage, before claiming their biggest scalp over the Tractor Boys, who were second in the Championship at the time.

They are the first sixth-tier team to reach the fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1977-78.

Manager George Elokobi has regularly spoken of the benefits of the club’s success to the community and Corne said it was amazing to see fans queuing for tickets for the fifth-round tie at 6am, with their away allocation selling out.

“[After beating Ipswich] We came back to Maidstone, all the fans were out and people who didn’t watch the game or know much about football recognised us and I don’t think we paid for a drink all night,” Corne added.

‘We don’t want it to end’

Gavin Hoyte
Gavin Hoyte has captained Maidstone to the FA Cup fifth round

Captain Gavin Hoyte has also felt the support from the local community and said he wanted to keep the run going as long as possible.

“When I take the kids to school I get families coming up to me and saying ‘well done’,” the 33-year-old said.

“We’ve got the FA Cup [trophy] here [at the news conference], that’s incredible.

“To be actually competing for the quarter-finals is amazing, we are just enjoying every moment and we don’t want it to end.”

Coventry are seventh in the Championship, three points outside the play-off places, and Corne said the Stones would need luck on their side to reach the last eight.

“We’ll be naive to think we’re going to have lots of the ball so we’re going to need to be resilient in our defensive shape,” he said.

“But like we said in our previous rounds, when we do get an opportunity on the ball, can we be forward thinking and create and hurt them in areas?”