Dutton sinks Sutton!
Report by Jamie Montigue
9th September 2006
The Spitfires are finally back to winning ways, after Brian Dutton’s 6th minute goal proved to be the winner. Despite the ever-growing injury list, including captain Danny Smith who was missing today, Eastleigh showed exactly the kind of character needed to get the three points and should they win at Salisbury on Tuesday night things would be looking a lot more comfortable.
Eastleigh’s first attack on Sutton’s goal led to the only goal of the game. Only 6 minutes of the game had been played when Darren Wheeler’s run from the right saw the tricky winger cut inside and pick out Ian Oliver in space in the area, who miss-hit a shot at goal. However, this worked in Eastleigh’s favour as it sat up perfectly for another former Weymouth midfielder, BRIAN DUTTON, who headed the ball home superbly from six yards to round off an excellent move.
Despite getting off to the best possible start, Eastleigh all of a sudden had a flurry of chances against them with Sutton centre forward Richard Harris involved more often than not. Poor marking from the home side allowed Harris time and space from a left sided corner, however the effort was blasted high over Wayne Shaw’s goal.
The fan favourite, Shaw, had to be on his guard shortly after as a long throw from Harris was punched away from danger by the super size keeper, who had been brought in to replace Paul Musselwhite.
On 14 minutes it was Harris once again, that had a golden opportunity to level for the visitors. David Hughes’ uncharacteristic error of letting the ball go under his foot allowed the Sutton forward a clear sight of goal, but as he pulled the trigger the ball flew inches wide, much to the relief of the midfield dynamo Hughes.
Goalscorer Brian Dutton conceded a needless free kick 25 yards from goal in a dangerous central position. The kick was half cleared by a Chris Collins header before John Scarborough hit the side netting.
On the half hour, Eastleigh’s star performer against Braintree, Jefferson Louis was held back resulting in a free kick. Hughes chipped the ball in beautifully for Wayne Purser who timed his run to perfection but just couldn’t get the smallest of touches that was needed to divert the ball past Clint Davies from close range.
Two minutes later, Eastleigh created another chance, which started off with stand in captain Francis Benali. The ball was spread 50 yards across the field for Wheeler whose attempted cross was shut down, giving Adam James a second chance to get the ball into the box. James did exactly this picking out Jefferson Louis in the middle however his header was far too high to trouble the goalkeeper.
Wheeler’s pace down the right hand side became too hot to handle and as a consequence, Sutton had to foul to stop him, fortunately for them it was just a yard outside of the penalty area. From what was a great position to cause damage, the free kick was somewhat disappointing and cleared with ease.
Eastleigh finished the half on the up with loan signing from Weymouth, Wayne Purser doing exceptionally well to out strength his opponent and at the same time managing to keep the ball in play getting the ball across goal. For all this hard work, the pull back was just short of Jefferson Louis and the chance was then gone.
HALF TIME – Eastleigh 1-0 Sutton
In much the same way that Eastleigh began the game at a high tempo looking to get forward early, they could have had a second three minutes into the half. Adam James played the ball into the penalty area for Jefferson Louis who let the ball come down whilst turning his marker easily through his strength. The Eastleigh striker then took the ball just a touch too far wide and as a result his shot was equally wayward.
Wheeler and Purser linked up well down the left hand side in the 52nd minute as they looked to create another chance for Louis. However, after a defence splitting pass down the touchline from Wheeler, Purser’s cross was slightly overcooked and Sutton could bring the ball away turning defence into attack. This very nearly saw the equaliser as a powerful hit from 20 yards smashed against the cross bar with Shaw left standing.
Before 60 minutes of play, Darren Wheeler slowly brought the ball forward on the right hand side teasing the Sutton left back before delivering a cross for Purser who slid in at the back post with Clint Davies scrambling across his goal to smother the ball and deny the Spitfires a second goal.
Jefferson Louis was played through on goal by Purser moments later, and from what was a great chance to double the lead, it appeared as the striker neared goal he ran out of energy. When a tackle came in from a Sutton defender Louis went down far too easily and despite the half hearted appeals for a penalty, in reality the Eastleigh striker was only ever going to be rewarded with a corner kick.
In the 62nd minute, Paul Doswell made his first change of the game, which saw Martin Thomas replace Ian Oliver. Thomas had a half chance within five minutes of coming into the action. A Wayne Shaw drop kick was well challenged for by both Purser and Louis, leading to the ball falling loose for ‘Tommo’ who hit the ball on the up smashing over from just outside the box.
With the game going into its final 20 minutes, Sutton came more and more into it as expected bearing in mind they were 1-0 down. All of a sudden they saw a lot more of the ball and threatened to steal a point on several occasions. A free kick from Michael Johnson was deflected for a corner following a good save from Shaw. The visitors then had two corners in quick succession as the pressure mounted on Eastleigh, however thanks to the brilliant Wayne Shaw and cool defending from the likes of Collins, Bound and Benali it was all soaked up as Eastleigh continued to hold on to their one goal lead.
Michael Johnson of Sutton was denied by a splendid stop from Shaw on 78 minutes as the Eastleigh stopper made a top drawer reaction save with his legs from point blank range to ensure a clean sheet was his.
Meanwhile, Eastleigh still had chances to put the game beyond doubt. Firstly a David Hughes free kick from the left led to a Chris Collins header flying into the side netting and then twice Jefferson Louis could have ran through past the only defender that was in his own half, had he only held back two yards before running on.
Substitute Liam Green who came on for Wayne Purser, looked lively down the left flank and he nearly made an instant impact as his run and cross created panic in the Sutton back line.
Eastleigh held on, and in the end it was a relatively comfortable victory despite the pressure towards the end from Sutton. Most importantly it sees the side unbeaten in two and if we can maintain this pattern of points away from home and wins at the Silverlake Stadium then there is no reason why we cannot be up there competing, after all it is still early days with a long way in the season to go.
FULL TIME – Eastleigh 1-0 Sutton