Forbes up and running, Hann shines on debut
EASTLEIGH v WESTON SUPER MARE
SATURDAY 8th SEPTEMBER 2007
Blue Square South
Eastleigh returned to winning ways this afternoon in an early kick off due to the England game, to put Sutton United defeat and it’s misery firmly behind them.
It was a win that sees the club up to third in the table. Meanwhile Weston Super Mare have now lost three consecutive games.
Matt Hann went straight into the starting line up for his debut, following his move from St. Albans this week, to take the place of Ellis Green on the left flank. Rob Marshall came back from injury as Karim El-Salahi only made the bench in an otherwise unchanged side for the Spitfires.
Starting at a blistering pace, Eastleigh’s latest capture Hann set the tone for the afternoon as the hosts netted twice in the space of six minutes.
Within 60 seconds, Luke Byles’ whipped cross from the left saw Anthony Riviere’s header force an early corner.
Weston had trouble clearing their lines and soon after Hann, who turned down a move to league leaders Lewes in favour of a move to the Silverlake Stadium; created the opener just two minutes in. Eastleigh getting off to the perfect start.
ANDY FORBES latched on to the through ball and in composed style stroked the ball into the bottom right hand corner with his left foot. Eastleigh’s top marksmen for the past three seasons netting his first goal of the campaign to open his account.
The chances didn’t stop here as Eastleigh bombarded the Seagulls. Damian Scannell the next to come close as he fired into the side netting under pressure, following good link up play between Forbes and Piper.
Moments later the ball was in the back of the net once more. With little over six minutes on the clock a delightful ball from Chris Piper, saw Hann provide his second assist of the game with a fine pull back. PAUL SALES was on hand to turn the ball in from close range, providing the finishing touch to double the advantage. The Spitfires looking like they would go on to score another five or six at this point, had they continued in this manner.
Goal Number Two - Sales Celebrates with Byles, Hann and Scannell
Looking extremely comfortable in the opening ten minutes, Eastleigh went off the boil allowing the visitors time and space to settle and come back at them.
A Barry McConnell right wing cross saw Gareth Hopkins turn his man before firing harmlessly over the cross bar.
Then came the goal that Weston’s play probably merited. ASHAN HOLGATE the scorer pulling one back on eighteen minutes with a sharp turn before beating Pullen from the edge of the area. There was little the Eastleigh stopper could do about this one, as the well-taken finish took a deflection on the way through to divert the ball over Pullen and into the roof of the net.
After Luke Byles received a yellow card on 21 minutes for an off the ball tangle with Holgate, a delicate touch from Forbes out to the wing found Matt Hann, who took one touch to cut inside before pulling the trigger; though his effort found the side netting only.
The game became a little scrappy in parts with the ball rarely on the deck, instead it was found in the air more often than not.
Five minutes before the break, Hopkins was presented with a glorious chance to find an equaliser. However the Weston Super Mare striker was a little hesitant and failed to capitalise on Rob Marshall’s wayward header that flew backwards towards goal.
Fortunately for Eastleigh, Andy Harris got back in the nick of time to clear for a corner.
Had the penalty shout gone against the Spitfires skipper as the flag kick came in, his last saving tackle would have been forgotten. The referee in a decent position was satisfied with the challenge on Hopkins who was left in need of treatment.
It had been a long time since Eastleigh’s flying start, and their last chance on goal even. Anthony Riviere deserved more on the stroke of half time, with a great hit from the edge of the area that proved too hot to handle for Ryan Northmere.
HALF TIME: Eastleigh 2-1 Weston Super Mare
Returning to their passing game, after a lacklustre finish to the first half, Eastleigh should have extended their lead moments after the break.
A flowing, passing move saw Andy Forbes find Paul Sales in front of goal, though he had the ball taken from his feet as Anthony Riviere helped himself to a free shot. The energetic midfielder squandered this opportunity with a shot that flew narrowly wide of the mark.
Nine minutes in, Rob Marshall came galloping up the pitch from centre half before curling an excellent effort round the post, having received the return ball from Hann.
Chances now coming thick and fast, it was evident the Spitfires were well and truly back on top in search of stretching their lead to put a bit of daylight between themselves and their opponents. Damian Scannell created the next opening with a run and cross from the byline, which was met by a wayward Andy Forbes header.
Against the run of play, shortly before the hour mark, Super-Mare’s goal scorer Holgate was very unlucky to see his extravagant bicycle kick come back off the post. This of course would have squared things up, but Eastleigh again took the upper hand to restore their two-goal margin.
A lovely reverse pass from Piper found the run of Hann into the penalty area. Failing to cope with the pace of Hann, a clumsy challenge came in to bring down the former St. Albans tricky winger. The referee had no reservations in pointing to the spot as ANDY FORBES tucked away the resulting penalty, to grab his second of the afternoon; sending the keeper the wrong way with a typical confident despatch.
Head and Shoulders Above the Rest
Prior to the goal, Ellis Green replaced Paul Sales in a switch that saw Scannell move into attack alongside Forbes with Green slotting in at right midfield.
The Seagulls, just as they had fought back in the first half with a goal, certainly did not go down without a fight. Dean Grubb’s dangerous delivery from the right flank narrowly missed the head of Lewis Powell, a second half sub, who had made a positive run to the near post.
David Hughes came on in place of the superb Matt Hann who could not have made a better impression on his first appearance in an Eastleigh shirt. Two assists inside the opening six minutes, not to mention winning the penalty for Eastleigh’s third. I am sure we will be seeing a lot more match winning performances from Matt in the near future.
Bit of a Hann'full!
Twelve minutes from time, Scannell had a chance to kill things off as yet another quality pass from Piper carved an opening for Eastleigh and spelt nothing but trouble for the Seagulls’ back line. Anthony Riviere played the ball back across to find Damian Scannell sliding in at the back post, but the former Fisher man will know he should have done better with the shot.
A minute later, Weston Super Mare ensured a tense finish to the game when Ryan Harley’s free kick went up over the wall and into the top left hand corner to leave Pullen standing for 3-2.
Holding on to the points, Eastleigh did enough to record their fifth win from seven games to leap up to third in the table.
The main positives aside from victory was Matt Hann’s impressive display to set the stadium alight on his debut and of course Andy Forbes is up and running for the season with two goals to his name, the first of many more to come no doubt.
FULL TIME: Eastleigh 3-2 Weston Super Mare