Eastleigh 1-3 Yeovil - Pre Season Friendly

EASTLEIGH V YEOVIL
FRIDAY 7TH JULY 2006

Pre-Season Friendly




In Eastleigh’s first ever match at the revamped Silverlake Stadium, after a summer of changes on and off the pitch the Spitfires put in a decent performance against League One opposition despite what the 1-3 scoreline might suggest.

The pre-season friendly also saw the welcome return of former Spitfire, Bradley Thomas who transferred to Yeovil earlier this year.

Andy Forbes may well have opened the scoring after only 3 minutes of play. Eastleigh’s top goalscorer sprinted through the Yeovil defence but overran the ball as he approached the 18 yard box. However, a sliced clearance from the goalkeeper Darren Behcet rebounded off Forbes and went just the wrong side of the post.

After the home side began at a good pace, Yeovil made Ian Oliver pay for a misplaced pass across his own goal area to take the lead. Striker Daniel Webb latched on to the error and smashed the ball into the top left hand corner leaving new keeper Paul Musselwhite no chance.

Darren Wheeler, another of Eastleigh’s new recruits, was very impressive in the opening stages and was arguably the best player on the pitch. Wheeler played down the left hand side as a winger, and caused Yeovil all sorts of problems with his incredible pace and trickery. Shortly after Yeovil scored, the left footed former Weymouth player went on a dazzling run as he side stepped a number of challenges before delivering a good ball into the box - only to find there were no Eastleigh men to be seen!

In the 20th minute, Yeovil hit Eastleigh once more on the break. Ishmael Welsh did a couple of stopovers before turning Martin Thomas, getting to the by-line and picking out the unmarked Daniel Webb who applied the finish at the back post to grab his second goal of the game.

Richard Hodgson came close minutes later, but perhaps should have done a lot better. The Yeovil keeper was out of his goal having made another failed clearance, this time it deflected directly into the path of the Geordie midfielder but Hodgson could not take advantage.

Paul Doswell’s new look side had the better of the play for the next ten minutes. They won three corners in a short space of time to put the visitors under a bit of pressure and also they won two free kicks. The first was struck by Hodgson but it was harmless, high and wide from a good position. Eastleigh captain Danny Smith then won another free kick as Eastleigh continued to come at their opponents. Darren Wheeler went across to the right hand side to float the ball in with his left foot to find Andy Forbes who rose high but his header flashed just wide of goal.

Eastleigh finished the half the better side as they began to find their rhythm. A lovely passing move between Wheeler, Hodgson and Smith nearly worked an opening but the final ball was a let down.

HALF TIME – Eastleigh 0-2 Yeovil

After the interval, Eastleigh made a double substitution. Ryan Ashford and Steve Forbes were brought on to replace Richard Hodgson and Andy Forbes. These changes saw Darren Wheeler moved up front with Ashford playing on the left wing and Dutton moving out to the right hand side of midfield.

Three minutes to the half Eastleigh got the goal they were looking for. The substitute Ryan Ashford put in a dangerous left wing cross that was headered back out to the edge of the box. Eastleigh skipper Danny Smith was on the end of it and he volleyed the ball first time with the cleanest of strikes as the ball smashed against the inside of the post before finding the back of the net. It truly was a goal of the highest quality from the Eastleigh midfielder as his side made the best possible start to the second half.

Yeovil had a great chance to further their lead in the 54th minute. Mario Harrison cut inside Chris Collins leaving him with just Musselwhite to beat, however he snatched at the ball and his effort was smashed high over the cross bar.

The home side made their third change when young striker Ashley Jarvis took to the field to replace Dave Town. Jarvis put himself about well and looked lively and confident. His first involvement saw him flick the ball on with the outside of his boot to Brian Dutton whose cross from the left hand side was headed clear.

Shortly after the hour mark Ashford had to come off, despite only coming on at half time. He picked up a knock and so Hodgson came back on to replace the injured midfielder.

Just when the game was looking like an even contest, Yeovil had only their second chance of the second half and managed to despatch it. Ishmael Welsh was the scorer as he beat his man with ease leaving himself with an easy finish inside the six-yard box to restore the visitor’s two-goal cushion.

In the 69th minute full back Martin Thomas was taken off and strong defender Andy Puckett came on, which was good to see as he missed the majority of last season through injury.

Ashley Jarvis threatened for Eastleigh once more. He took the ball inside with a good first touch before firing the ball inches wide of the far post, as he created a chance almost out of nothing.

In the end time ran out for the Spitfires in a match that could have gone either way. However Yeovil’s class did see them through to a 3-1 victory. Eastleigh fans can be delighted with the prospect of the new signings that were on show. Matt Bound was solid at the back winning a number of important headers, whilst former Weymouth midfielder’s Darren Wheeler and Brian Dutton also impressed. Goalkeeper Paul Musselwhite couldn’t do much about the goals but I’m sure there will be more to come from him. Not to mention the fact that Justin Bennett is still recovering from a knee injury, so there is plenty to look forward to in the coming season!

FULL TIME – Eastleigh 1-3 Yeovil

Report by JAMIE MONTIGUE

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