Perfect end to less than perfect season
Saturday 28th April - Yeading 1 Eastleigh 4
Report by Ray Murphy
On a lovely summery afternoon in a carnival type atmosphere thanks to the travelling Eastleigh supporters, the Spitfires gave the followers something to remember for the next twelve weeks until the ball starts rolling again for a new season, leaving Yeading with their seventh consecutive defeat. Oxford United trialist Craig Richards came into the side at right back thus allowing Tarkan Mustafa to move into a midfield role, Steve West returned for the injured Robbie Marshall, Carl Wilson-Denis for the not fully fit Steve Watts and also a recall to the starting line up for Darren Wheeler.
The afternoon did not start that well for Eastleigh. Having been met by a crescendo of noise balloons and trailing toilet rolls that saw the referee and the Yeading stewards clearing the pitch, the home side struck inside the opening ten minutes. In the seventh minute Yeading's leading scorer Marvin Morgan picked the ball up just inside the Eastleigh half and went on a run that did not bring any challenge from an Eastleigh player. Once inside the area Morgan unleashed a powerful drive beyond James Pullen to give the home side the lead with their first goal for four games.
The lead lasted for six minutes. Wilson-Denis, often the victim of an offside flag from the assistants for the afternoon, was presented with the ball on the edge of the area, where he lofted the ball over the advancing Yeading goalkeeper Luke Blackmore. The ball seemed to be heading goalward but to make sure Andy Forbes applied the finishing touch from inside the six-yard box.
Forbes and Wilson-Denis combined again on twenty-one minutes. Wilson-Denis played in Forbes whose shot inside the area brought a fine one handed save from Blackmore but as he and his defensive cover of Navin Saroya hesitated, Forbes took full advantage and slipped the loose ball under Blackmore to register the striker’s twenty first league strike of the season.
It was The Spitfires making all the running. Wheeler’s cross brought a header from Forbes that was saved by Blackmore, Forbes trying to return a compliment to Wilson-Denis saw the strikers delicate lob just caught by the stretching Blackmore. Wilson-Denis also turned up on the right flank sending over a cross, which was half cleared only for Mustafa to fire wide.
It really did become a stroll for Eastleigh in the sun in the second period. On the hour Wheelers inch perfect right wing corner saw Steve West arrive in the six-yard box to power home a header. Five minutes later West’s central defensive partner Chris Collins intercepted a pass on the half way line, Forbes played the ball back into his path, which left Collins of the unusual sight of a one on one situation with Blackmore. With natural aplomb Collins using all the style of a striker, drew Blackmore to him before slotting the ball coolly under the keeper’s body for his first (and only) goal of the season.
West had another powerful header from a Danny Smith corner just over the bar on seventy one minutes whilst the home side only threatened Eastleigh once in the second period. Player Manager Garry Haylock on as a second half substitute brought a flying save by Pullen but an overall convincing victory for the Eastleigh side who at the end of the game celebrated their final match of the season by discarding their shirts to the following Eastleigh faithful.