The Goals Keep Coming
Hayes & Yeading United 2 Eastleigh 4
Match Report by Ray Murphy
Though Eastleigh had visited Church Road, Hayes twice previously, this was the first time that they had visited the ground under the guise of the newly merged Hayes & Yeading United. The two previous trips had never seen an Eastleigh victory. This time Eastleigh earned a highly deserved victory, the only disappointing outcome of the afternoon was conceding two goals in the last ten minutes as they were coasting to victory.
The home side were on a run of seven league games undefeated, whilst Eastleigh were patching together their side following their midweek FA Cup exit at Forest Green Rovers. With Matt Hann and Karim El Salahi both passing late fitness tests, the FA Cup tied Adam Everitt came in to the side to fill his normal left back role with Chris Piper moving up into midfield allowing Damian Scannell a striking role and David Hughes returning to the midfield with Anthony Riviere and Paul Sales both dropping to the substitutes bench.
Eastleigh were in front in four minutes. Piper’s cross from the left being met by the head of the rising Andy Forbes to glide home the first goal of the afternoon.
A highly bright start but the game took some time to pick up momentum. Eastleigh were by far having the better of the afternoon. Midway through the half Hughes’ pass into the path of Hann saw the diminutive winger power a low shot across the face of the goal just before Eastleigh added their second. Twenty six minutes played and again from the left flank but this time an Everitt free kick to the far post saw the figure of Forbes rising to repeat his act of some twenty minutes earlier.
A minute later and the Eastleigh following were ecstatic again. Damian Scannell causing problems on the left flank saw his cross parried away by home goalkeeper Kevin Davies the ball sitting up for Piper to rattle home his first goal for The Spitfires.
The home side who had not been seen as an attacking force had been using their flanks well with right winger Danny Allen-Page in particular showing an impressive performance, started to create a couple of openings as the first half was drawing to a close. One cross from Allen-Page fell awkwardly for Andy Harris who was relieved to see keeper James Pullen gather the loose ball. Another Allen-Page cross saw a speculative overhead attempt from the home sides leading scorer Staforde Palmer which was pushed over the bar by Pullen then Kieran Knight headed a Will Hendry corner just wide.
Hayes & Yeading had the first chance of the second period, again Allen-Page but again Pullen was equal to the midfielders shot. Fifty-nine minutes and Luke Byles had a header from a Piper cross just wide of the target but a minute later Eastleigh found themselves with a four-goal cushion. Davies slipped taking his goal kick and the ball fell for Scannell. Ignoring the calling Forbes, Scannell took the ball past the covering defender before planting a firm left foot drive down past the feet of Davies into the net.
At this stage it was starting to appear that Eastleigh would score at will. Forbes set up Piper who was then denied by a Davies stop, substitute Riviere and Forbes combined which ended up with Forbes’ shot striking the inside of the post before being cleared to safety. The game then took a twist for the final ten minutes.
Palmer had already shown his danger, which has already seen him score seven goals this season. Having seen another effort saved by Pullen, Palmer finally beat the keeper in the seventy ninth minute. A cross from Josh Scott saw Palmer miss his first attempt at a goalbound strike but he recovered to slot home with the second. Palmer showed he meant business still by busily collecting the ball to get the game restarted.
Four minutes later and Palmer was celebrating again volleying home from inside the six-yard area and a few Eastleigh nerves were starting to fray. Palmer had another effort again taken by Pullen to take the sting out of the final Hayes goalmouth melee.
Eastleigh had the last chance of the afternoon when Danny Smith set up Sales but Davies denied the strikers effort.
In the final minute of the game the home side were reduced to ten men. Skipper Nevin Saroya showed his frustration of the afternoon with a scything challenge on Riviere, which saw referee David Rock produce a second yellow card and Saroya was off for the early bath.