Maidstone United: Frannie Collin thrilled by FA Cup exploits

Frannie Collin
Collin scored both goals as Maidstone United beat Stevenage at the Gallagher Stadium on Thursday

Maidstone United striker Frannie Collin says their giant-killing exploits in the FA Cup have given the club the exposure they wanted.

The Stones, who play in the seventh tier, beat League Two Stevenage 2-1 in their first round replay on Thursday.

"We wanted to get in the first round, get a league club and showcase our pitch," Collin told BBC Radio Kent.

"We couldn't have asked for any more. Stevenage are three leagues above us but we always fancied our chances."

Maidstone, whose Gallagher Stadium has a 3G artificial pitch, have reached the second round of the competition for the first time since they were reformed in 1992.

The Kent club had initially drawn 0-0 away from home in the initial tie last Saturday.

"We thought when we went to their place we were the better team and we might have lost our chance," Collin said.

"We probably had the better of the chances over the two games so I don't think anyone can deny us the win."

Stevenage boss Westley hails Stones
"They were more than a match for us over the two games," Boro boss Graham Westley told BBC Three Counties Radio."People will talk about the surface - it's not about the surface. Their appetite for winning was there and they deserved to beat us."

Collin bagged both goals against Boro on Thursday but was substituted late on with manager Jay Saunders unaware that the 27-year-old was on a hat-trick, having scored what turned out to be the winner in the 87th minute.

"I didn't have a clue it was Frannie who scored. I thought it was Jay May," Saunders said.

"I brought Frannie off and said to him 'who got the second?'. He thought I was winding him up. He doesn't score many headers."

Frannie Collin
Collin's brace against Stevenage took his tally in this season's FA Cup to six goals

Stones co-chairman Terry Casey says the Isthmian Premier Division club will use the prize money and TV income from their Cup run - more than £90,000 - to build a new stand.

"Some clubs throw all their money into the playing squad and it all evaporates," Casey told BBC Radio Kent.

"In years to come the stand will be build on the basis of the 2014 Cup run.

"In the first qualifying round we won 10-0 against Littlehampton and it has grown and grown from that. There will be a legacy of all the wonderful hard work these players have put in."

Maidstone now face a trip to Conference side Wrexham in the second round on Saturday, 6 December.

However, with the Stones currently second in the league table and facing a trip to Met Police on Saturday, Collin knows where their priorities lie.

"Saturday's game is as big as Stevenage," he said.

"We want to get out of the league. In all reality we are not going to win the FA Cup but we can win the Ryman Premier.

"After a night like Thursday I don't think the players will feel tired."

Jay Saunders
Maidstone manager Jay Saunders and his players were mobbed by fans after the final whistle
Maidstone United players celebrate in the changing room after the game
Maidstone United's players celebrate afterwards in the changing room but they face Met Police in the league on Saturday before a trip to Wrexham in the second round on Saturday, 6 December