Farnborough 1-0 Eastleigh

Report by Ray Murphy

4th November 2006
Conference South

Farnborough Town 1 Eastleigh 0

What a difference a week makes. Seven days earlier at The Silverlake, Eastleigh were basking in the glory of beating the leagues top placed side and deservedly so with an excellent performance. A week later Eastleigh left the pitch having lost by the same single goal score line, but to the bottom of the table Farnborough Town, seeing their side lift themselves off the foot of the table for the first time this season although somewhat hampered in that case by having started the season with a ten point deduction for going into administration.

Manager Paul Doswell was enforced to make one change from the side that had beaten Histon with Jamie Brown missing through injury so Bertie Brayley rejoined the starting line up. It was though to be one of those afternoons.

For sure the Eastleigh back line look a much more solid unit, new keeper James Pullen again impressed anything coming near the six yard box will see the blonde haired stopper amongst the action. Now it appears the concern is more of where the goals are coming from. Current leading scorer Andy Forbes was hardly presented with a goal attempt on Saturday. Steve West leads the line well with his strength and aerial domination but the pressure is on Forbes for the goals. Having netted four in his past two games the strikers record is good but when he limped away from the action with seventeen minutes remaining the blank score line seemed cast in stone. The facts don’t lie and that is that only twice this season on fifteen league games have Eastleigh found the net more than once and Forbes have netted their last five goals and is the only player at the club to have netted in the league this season since August when he was assisted by a couple each from Steve Forbes and Darren Wheeler.

The game started quite brightly on a crisp November afternoon. Steve Laidler was allowed to run at the Eastleigh defence but his shot went over the bar. Play immediately switched to the other end where West had a shot that ricocheted away for a corner. Liam Green's corner was only half cleared by Farnborough keeper Kevin Scriven but Danny Smith's lofted shot was wide of the target.

A minute later Pullen's long kick was flicked on by Forbes into the path of Smith but he shot straight at Scriven. After a quarter of an hour Brayley's cross into the area saw Forbes fire high over the bar. The game was starting to get disjointed as both sides tried to get control of the game. Midway through the opening half Smith had another effort on goal after being set up by West but again his shot was saved. The game was just edging away in to a non-memorable afternoon of football.

As the interval approached Greens cross into the area was met with a weak header from West but for Eastleigh, disaster was just about to happen. Right on the forty fifth minute ex Eastleigh midfielder Richard Hodgson on the left flank sent a ball into the area. With Pullen keeping his eye on the ball and starting to move off his line to challenge for the ball at its intended destination, the ball struck Robbie Marshall and nestled in the back of the net with Pullen wrong footed and the home side were a goal to the good.

The second half of the game was poor. Eastleigh started bright again Smith went close in the opening minutes following Andy Harris’ long throw but chances were limited. West again headed wide from a Wheeler corner and from the same move again. West was denied by Scriven. The best chance of the half though fell to the home side with only seven minutes left. The dangerous Marc Pattison provided a cross, which saw a glancing header from Marc Charles go just wide of the target.

Despite the energy from the Eastleigh side to try to gain an equaliser, West having another attempt blocked in the final minutes, it was the home side that kept a clean sheet and pulled themselves off the foot of the table. With three of the other five sides below Eastleigh gaining points, it was a bad afternoon slipping to just above the relegation zone with only a point in their favour.


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