Away win sends Eastleigh into playoff positions
Bromley 1 Eastleigh 2
Match Report by Ray Murphy
In a match played in atrocious weather conditions with a howling wind and intermittent rain showers, both sides produced some good football to give the crowd of 457 a fine afternoon's football entertainment.
At sometimes an ill-tempered affair, with both sides using the flanks there were chances at either end throughout the match. With Luke Byles missing through suspension, Karim El Salahi returned to the side with Adam Everitt also returning after his one match ban.
Eastleigh were almost in front after only fifty seconds. A free kick from twenty-five yards by Andy Harris thundered against the underside of the cross bar and then down into the arms of home goalkeeper Andy Walker. On ten minutes Bromley had an opportunity when a defence splitting pass by Bobby Bowry allowed Danny Hockton a run on goal. Hockton took the ball past Eastleigh goalkeeper Ross Kitteridge who had forced the striker wide only allowing Hockton to shoot into the side netting. Play immediately switched to the opposite end where man of the match Damian Scannell provided a cross from which Chris Piper's header was saved by Walker.
With a quarter of an hour played and with the winds behind their backs, a lofted effort from Sam Woods was drifting just under the bar but Kitteridge showed a safe pair of hands to claim the ball. With twenty-one minutes played the home side did go ahead. Gareth McCleary who was causing problems on the Eastleigh left flank set up Hockton but the striker's shot rebounded back off the post, Gareth Williams had a shot blocked in the resultant melee but the ball fell again for Hockton to plant a shot into the corner of the Eastleigh net.
It only took Eastleigh eight minutes to level. Everitt's original right wing corner was cleared back out to the full back who whipped another left foot cross to the far post where Jamie Brown arrived to power a header home from inside the six yard area.
Bromley had a chance to restore their lead after thirty-six minutes. A cross from Luke L’Anson found Hockton but he only managed to put the ball the wrong side of the upright.
The game was evenly matched, both sides that had the wind advantage found themselves fighting more against the conditions than the opposite side. Eastleigh started the second half the brightest, Scannell cut inside his defender after seven minutes of the second period before seeing his effort cleared off the line.
Eastleigh did take the lead on fifty-eight minutes. Again Scannell involved, his cross found Ashan Holgate and the striker's miscued control fell invitingly for Anthony Riviere arriving to the edge of the box to fire home an unstoppable shot.
Three minutes later Eastleigh almost added a third, Holgate and Scannell combined allowing Piper a chance but his weak shot was saved by Walker. The game entered a frantic stage, Everitt's back pass fell straight to Bromley’s McCleary but the alert actions of Kitteridge saved the embarrassment of the Eastleigh full back.
Another wind-assisted effort this time from Theo Davis was pushed away by Kitteridge, whilst Scannell's block tackle on the edge of the box fell for Andy Forbes but he was denied by Walker. Hockton was presented with another opportunity with nineteen minutes remaining but a last ditch tackle from Riviere was as outstanding as the goal he had scored earlier.
Bromley tried their utmost to gain the equaliser in the closing stages. McCleary was again denied by Kitteridge whilst in stoppage time Hockton's neat control in the box found space and then looked in horror as his shot hit the foot of the post. An excellent victory for the Spitfires giving some revenge for their 4-1 home defeat by the same side four weeks ago.