Dodd Off To Winning Start


Hampshire Senior Cup

A new era at the Silverlake Stadium begun last night after Monday’s sensational news saw Paul Doswell step down as manager whilst still maintaining a rightful position at the club he loves so dearly, with Jason Dodd being handed the job as boss.

Several ex-Eastleigh players were on show for Vosper in this Hampshire Senior Cup game, including Ryan Ashford and Tyronne Bowers along with Lee Bright, captain Kevin Gibbens and Barry Mason. A strong Eastleigh side put on a good performance for Dodd creating many chances but in the end they needed extra time to seal the win against a side several leagues below them in the Non-League ladder.

The Spitfires almost went ahead inside the first minute of the game when Darren Wheeler’s dangerous ball into the box was headed away but only into the path of Steve West. The big centre half miscued his shot and it then fell for Jamie Brown who scooped the effort up and into the hands of keeper Scott O’Rourke with a weak left footed shot.

Vosper’s first chance of the game saw long range shooting specialist, Ryan Ashford power a free kick just past the right hand post of James Pullen’s goal. For a player that spent many successful years at the club, it was good to see Ashford back at Eastleigh, with many thinking that he might come back to haunt his former club – thankfully he didn’t!

Jamie Brown had a second good chance to open the scoring following an excellent delivery from Ian Oliver but failed to pose any real danger to the Vosper keeper with his hooked volley.

A brief scare for the Spitfires saw an under-hit back pass from the left back, Ian Oliver, fall several yards short of James Pullen who just managed to get there ahead of Michael Spinney. Pullen’s clearance landed straight at the feet of Tyronne Bowers who had an empty goal to shoot at but rushed his attempt and watched on as his effort flew high and wide.

Vosper gradually gained in confidence and then had a guilt edge chance to take the lead. Kevin Gibbens forced his way through the Eastleigh defence before his completely scuffed shot turned out to be the perfect disguise pass for Spinney who was onside and only had Pullen to beat from a couple of yards. Spinney somehow let the chance go amiss and this let off for Eastleigh allowed them to look for a goal of their own.

The exciting Darren Wheeler gave the Vosper full back a hard time of it with his terrific pace but on this particular occasion he did all the hard work and then crossed too deeply for the players in the middle.

Just after half an hour of play, Eastleigh found their stride and looked increasingly good going forward. The excellent Liam Green played the ball in to Jamie Brown who struck the ball well enough but just wide of the target to round off a good team move.

Brown, the extremely hardworking and fully committed centre forward, still only has one Eastleigh goal to his name since his move from Dorchester and squandered another great opportunity on 34 minutes. Good work down the left from Wheeler then saw the ball moved on to Green whose inviting cross picked out Brown at the back post who made a hash of it, again with his weaker left foot.

Five minutes before the end of the half, Barry Mason got the better of Francis Benali but then failed to keep his feet as he embarrassingly slipped up when he took it past the veteran.

Both sides had their fair share of chances but Eastleigh were on top for the way they kept the ball and looked solid in possession.

HALF TIME – Eastleigh 0-0 Vosper Thornycroft

Only a couple of minutes into the second forty-five, the Spitfires were on the prowl once more. Jamie Brown helped it on smartly for Danny Smith who let rip with a curling effort from 25 yards that had keeper O’Rourke in all kinds of trouble as he gathered at the second attempt.

Andy Forbes a couple of moments later, looked like he had ran into trouble and that he may have taken the ball too far on his run from the left, but he kept going and managed to poke a shot goalwards that in the end wasn’t too far wide of the post.

Eastleigh were at their best when a free-flowing move sparked a good chance and deserved better. Steve West started the move off with a superb cross field pass before Wheeler put in a pin-point cross to find Forbes lurking in a good position inside the area. The former Winchester City marksmen unluckily powered his header an inch or two over the bar.

Tarkan Mustafa, who is looking better for every game that he plays and is proving to be a decent signing, again played with composure and was solid at right back showing just how versatile he can be. It was his cross that found Brown at the near post but the effort was palmed away with a good save for a corner on the right hand side. Steve West connected well enough with the delivery but failed to trouble the keeper with his wayward header.

For the first time in the half Vosper looked dangerous just after the hour mark. The skipper, former Southampton and Eastleigh midfielder Kevin Gibbens, had an excellent snapshot cleared in front of goal and it needed to be as it was goal bound. Gibbens had another strike a few minutes later but failed to trouble Pullen from the edge of the area.

A Jamie Brown trademark flick on for Andy Forbes penetrated the Vosper defence as the through ball for Liam Green came in. It was a good chance for Eastleigh and, had Marc Diaper not got across to make a good intervention, Eastleigh may well have been a goal to the good. The corner from the left was met by a firm header from Brown who couldn’t find a way past O’Rourke.

What was frustrating for the home side was failing to convert just one of their numerous chances. Liam Green, who continued to improve on his excellent first half display, came a whisker away with a long-range drive 17 minutes from the end.

There was a sense that a goal could come any moment, especially when Eastleigh’s next chance saw Vosper substitute Danny Barker slice a clearance over his own cross bar. It was Danny Smith with a low ball in from the right with added pace and curl that must have made it difficult for Barker but how it didn’t go in was anyone’s guess, as it looked certain to be heading for the top corner. It didn’t, and Vosper survived again, as Wheeler swung in the corner kick. Brown helped it on to Steve West who was completely off balance as the shot proved, clearing the stand with a horrendous attempt.

The chances kept coming for Eastleigh, Andy Forbes rounded O’Rourke but the touch was too heavy to keep the ball in play and then Jamie Brown had a fantastic attempt at goal from the edge of the area that unfortunately was always curling away from the far post.

A few niggling fouls were evident towards the end as extra time got ever close, in particular Kevin Brewster’s lunge at Steve West in a poor effort to get on the end of James Thomson’s pull back into the six yard box.

Two minutes from the end Mustafa picked out Danny Smith perfectly and only the slightest of deflections denied the Eastleigh midfielder a late goal. Despite a whole host of opportunities, none more so than for Eastleigh, the game went into extra time where there was yet more action and entertainment for a rather low crowd of 203.

FULL TIME – Eastleigh 0-0 Vosper Thornycroft

Where tiredness set in, more and more chances opened up for either side and it was Vosper that looked most likely to find a goal in the opening stages of extra time.

James Pullen was in sensational form however to keep his clean sheet in tact as he kept out Thomson’s well hit low strike, diving at full stretch to his right to keep the ball out.

Vosper substitute Marvin McClean was full of running against the heavy-legged Eastleigh defenders who had been playing for well over 100 minutes at this point. McClean simply kept running, keeping the ball close to his feet whilst dribbling before finding Michael Spinney in space but the shot had nothing on it to be of harm to the Eastleigh stopper, whose best was yet to come.

Jamie Brown thought he scored for a split second when he despatched the ball into an empty net picking up the pieces from Andy Forbes’ saved shot. However, when the ball was played in the Eastleigh striker was in an offside position and the goal didn’t stand, it was an excellent move from the home side all the same.


Little over a minute of the second period had been played when Martin Thomas was found in unfamiliar territory in front of goal as he latched on to a well-placed pass from Andy Forbes. It was a golden opportunity to give the Spitfires the advantage but credit to O’Rourke for coming out of goal early to narrow the angle and palm the shot away. The ball landed right at the feet of Danny Smith though who had an even greater chance of scoring, but his shot was fired horribly over a vacated goal.

After this miss, it seemed likely that things were going in Vosper’s favour. Michael Spinney must have thought the same thing when his lovely strike from the edge of the box looked destined for the back of the net. Incredibly Pullen got across to miraculously push away with a one handed save diving to his left. This has got to go down as the save of the season so far, it was really was that good and certainly the closest the game had came to a goal.

Fortunately for Eastleigh, and more to the point deservedly, ANDY FORBES netted five minutes from the end in the 115th minute sweeping home from inside the six yard box to tuck away a deep cross from Darren Wheeler to seal the win, Jason Dodd’s first as a manager.

The goal was not the only talking point as Jamie Brown picked up a second yellow card for a ‘nothing foul’ a minute from the end. As most of you know the 110% player is still yet to serve a ban for his red card at AFC Wimbledon a little over a week ago. This will not diminish the result in anyway which was hard-earned by the Spitfires in what was a very good evenings display of football, what it will mean though is that Brown will be missing for longer than was already anticipated.

Dodd was clearly delighted with his first win, but it remains to be seen how his side will fair for the rest of the season in the Conference South. Stuart Douglas and Steve Forbes are both doing remarkably well in their road to recovery and could be back in action for the first team shortly, with the latter playing a full 90 minutes for the reserves at the weekend. How key could it be to get these two players fit and in the side again!

All in all a good victory, could this be the start of better things to come?




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