January 18, 2024

2023-24 FA Cup, 4th Round Proper: location-map, with fixtures list & current league attendances./+ Biggest upset in the 3rd Round: Maidstone United (6) beat Stevenage (3).

Filed under: >2023-24 FA Cup — admin @ 10:38 pm
2023-24 FA Cup, 4th Round Proper: location-map, with fixtures list & current league attendances

By Bill Turianski on 18 January 2024;
-The competition…FA Cup (
-2023-24 FA Cup (
-BBC’s page on the competition…

    Biggest upset in the 2023-24 FA Cup 3rd Round…Maidstone United (6) beat Stevenage (3): A league-placement difference of 3 levels and 69 league-places.

-Maidstone United 1-0 Stevenage [6 Jan 2024] (
-Maidstone MAKE HISTORY! | Maidstone 1-0 Stevenage | Emirates FA Cup 2023-24 (uploaded by The Emirates FA Cup at

Maidstone United are from Maidstone, in Kent, in the southeast of England. Maidstone is located about a dozen miles south of the Thames Estuary; and Maidstone is located, by road, 37 miles (60 km) SE of central London. Maidstone has a population of around 176,000 and is a bedroom community of Greater London. Maidstone United wear amber-and-black. The club was formed in 1992, replacing the original Maidstone United (1897-1992), which was a fourth division Football League club when it was liquidated in August 1992. The original Maidstone United’s demise was the result of overspending to get into the League – where they lasted for three short years – coupled with a disastrous attempt to buy land for a new ground in the town.

The new Maidstone United (est. 1992) were formed as Maidstone Invicta, around the former Maidstone United’s youth squad. They were placed 7 steps below the Football League, in the 4th division of the Kent County League (where direct promotion was not possible). In the 2001-02 season, the club was accepted into the Kent League, and duly won the league in their first season there; however, they were denied promotion due to lack of a suitable ground. In their 5th season in the Kent League (2005-06) Maidstone won their second league title, and did gain promotion to the Isthmian League D1 South. Then they won that league in 2006-07, so were promoted for the second straight year, into the Isthmian Premier League, for 2007-08. But four years later, in 2011, Maidstone had a set-back, and were relegated back to the Isthmian D1 South. At this point in time, Maidstone were in the process of (finally) building their own stadium; see four paragraphs below.

Maidstone returned to the Isthmian Premier two years later, in 2013, and then two years after that, in 2015, they won promotion to the 6th tier, into the National League South. And then in 2016, Maidstone were promoted for the second straight year, via the play-offs, into the 5th-division National League. Maidstone finished in 14th place in the National League in 2016-17, and that is the club’s highest finish to date. Maidstone had a 3-season stint in the 5th division, then fell back to the 6th tier for two seasons (from 2019 to ’22). And then in 2021-22, Maidstone won the National League South, and won promotion back to the 5th division, only to finish rock-bottom in the 2022-23 National League.

And halfway through that futile season was when current Maidstone United manager George Elokobi was hired (in January 2023). George Elokobi is a Cameroon-born centre-back, who played in 311 matches from 2002 to 2022, most notably featuring 6 seasons with Wolverhampton, from 2008 to ’14 (which included his playing for Wolves in the Premier League from 2009-’12). Elokobi finished his on-field career with 3 seasons for Maidstone United from 2019 to 2022, as a player/academy coach. His final match saw him score a goal, as Maidstone were promoted to the 5th division.

In the 2023-24 season, Elokobi has turned the team around, as Maidstone are doing well in the National League South, and are currently in 4th place [as of 19 Jan 2024]. Also, they are drawing very good for a 6th-tier side, pulling in 1,972 per game, which is only a drop-off of 170 per game as compared to their crowd-size in the 5th division last season. So the fans have by and large continued to support Maidstone, following their 2023 relegation.

Maidstone play at Gallagher Stadium, which is owned by the club and opened in 2012 {see photos below}. Its capacity is 4,200 (792 seated), and it features a 3G (or third generation) pitch. Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium was, in fact, the first football venue in England to install a 3G pitch (in 2012). 3G pitch is characterized by long synthetic grass with a shock-absorbent rubber-crumb under-layer. Its usefulness is found in the fact that it can withstand a lot of wear, while being less dangerous than astroturf. So it is very economical for small clubs, because once installed, the club has far less upkeep costs, and they can actually rent the pitch out, to pull in much-needed revenue, and not risk a muddied and dangerous pitch. Many non-League clubs have adopted 3G pitches in the last decade. In the National League set-up alone (72 teams), there are twelve clubs which currently play on a 3G pitch, including Bromley in South London, Eastbourne Borough in East Sussex, Gloucester City, and Oxford City {see this,[list-of-great-britain-artificial-pitches]}. Thanks to their 3G pitch, Maidstone pull in around £120,000 to £150,000 profit per year, renting out their pitch.

There is one major drawback, though…while 3G pitch is allowed in non-League football, and in the FA Cup, as of 2023-24, it is not allowed in the Football League. So if you have a 3G pitch and get promoted to the 4th division, you either have to tear up the pitch and replace it with grass, play somewhere else, or be denied promotion. This has happened twice: with Harrogate Town (of North Yorkshire) in 2021, and with Sutton United (of South London) in 2022. Both clubs tore out the 3G and put in grass. The cost to do this is around half-a-million pounds!

In the FA Cup qualifying rounds it took Maidstone three away wins to get to the 1st Round, where they beat 7th-tier side Chesham United away. In the 2nd Round, on 2 December 2023 at Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone upset a promotion-chasing 4th-division side: Barrow AFC. A total of 2 league-levels and 46 league-places separated Maidstone from League Two high-fliers Barrow. They beat Barrow 2-1, coming back from a one-nil deficit, with a goal by MF Sam Corne in the 35th minute. Then the winning goal was scored by Maidstone-born Nepalese MF Bivesh Gurung, in the 74th minute. There was a decent crowd of 2,903 there.

For the 3rd Round, Maidstone were drawn for another home tie, versus promotion-chasing 3rd-tier side Stevenage. This was a match that really should have been televised. At this point, Maidstone was one of four non-League clubs still alive in the tournament, and they were the lowest placed. There was a crowd of 4,024 there (95 percent-capacity) at Gallagher Stadium. In added time at the end of the 1st half, a penalty kick was called when Stevenage DF Louis Thompson brought down Maidstone FW Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong in the box {see screenshot below}. 27-year-old MF Sam Cone scored the penalty. Maidstone repelled Stevenage’s offensive forays the rest of the match, including a play late in the 2nd half, when Sam Corne provided more heroics…on the goal line at the left post, he saved a sure goal, blocking a header from a Stevenage corner kick that was on its way in the goal {see screenshot below}. At the final whistle, Maidstone United had qualified for the FA Cup 4th Round for the first time in their 32-year history.

For the 4th Round, Maidstone have been drawn to play 2nd-tier promotion-candidate Ipswich Town, away, at Portman Road in Suffolk. This time, the match will be televised.

Photo and Image credits above – Coat of Arms of Maidstone (feat. an Iguanadon), from A view of Maidstone, with bridge over River Medway and the 14th-century All Saints Church in background, photo unattributed at[best-things-to-do-maidstone]. Fremiln Walk (outdoor shopping mall) in Maidstone, photo from[pdf]. 1st aerial drone shot of Gallagher Stadium, from 2nd aerial drone shot of Gallagher Stadium, unattributed at news.maidston. George Elokobi (Maidstone United manager,) photo from Fans at match, photo by Zac Goodwin/PA via[@James_Dart]. 45+1′, Penalty…Stevenage DF Louis Thompson brings down Maidstone FW Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong in the box, screenshot from video uploaded by The Emirates FA Cup at 45+2′ MF Sam Corne nets the penalty, photo by Action Images via Late in 2nd half, Sam Corne, on the goal line at the left post, saves a goal, blocking a header from a Stevenage corner kick, screenshot from video uploaded by The Emirates FA Cup at George Elokobi celebrates with fans after pitch invasion, photo by Zac Goodwin/PA via

Thanks to all, at the links below…
-Blank map of English Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Counties, by Nilfanion, at File:English metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties 2010.svg (
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Blank relief map of Greater Manchester, by Nilfanion (using Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater Manchester UK relief location map.jpg.
-Blank relief map of West Midlands, by Nilfanion, at File:West Midlands UK relief location map.jpg
-Fixtures list: screenshot from
-FA Cup (
Attendance figures…
-Soccerway (current average attendances for the 1st, 2nd 3rd, and 4th divisions). (current average attendances for the 6th level).

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