Flying Fisher hit for four by fabulous Eastleigh

FISHER ATHLETIC v EASTLEIGH



SATURDAY 9th FEBRUARY 2008
Blue Square South

Match Report by Ray Murphy


In the face of adversity, Eastleigh produced arguably their best performance of the season, with their third successive away victory, third consecutive positive result and so far remain unbeaten in the league in 2008. Manager Ian Baird already carrying an injury list including Jamie Brown and Gareth Howells, suspensions of Luke Byles and Adam Everitt along with Fitzroy Simpson unavailable suffered a further set back before the game when David Hughes failed a late fitness test. Chris Collins only just returning to training after being out all season injured was drafted in as an emergency and played an excellent game, whilst Steve Watts was included on the bench for his first outing since October.

The home side unbeaten in their last eight games and having just ended a run of seven consecutive victories were second best for the entire afternoon. The first chance fell to Paul Sales on twelve minutes, only a half chance that Sales made the most of which produced an excellent stop from Fisher goalkeeper Simon Overland. Eight minutes later a Chris Piper corner, Collins shot towards goal where Andy Forbes turned and shot that brought another fine stop from Overland.

Eastleigh were always in the ascendancy, Mark Marshall struck a twenty-yard drive that rattled the crossbar whilst another Sales effort was saved by Overland. The best that Fisher offered was a long-range effort from Shaun Batt that was off target. Eastleigh deservedly went ahead on thirty eight minutes, Andy Harris’ cross from his unusual left back role from just inside the Fisher half was headed into the six yard box by Sales where Peter Adeniyi fired home his first goal for the club.

Fisher settled for a short period and played some neat football, Andre McCollin had a free kick from outside the area that fell into David Wilkinson’s midriff and winger Batt produced a mazy run that provided no end product.

Two interval substitutions by Fisher brought little affect to the home side. Instead three minutes into the second period and Eastleigh were celebrating their second goal. Again Harris’ long ball forward from deep fell over the despairing centre backs climbing frame allowing Sales to glide a header beyond the reach of Overland and into the net.

Five minutes later and ex-Fisher man Piper was celebrating a twenty five yard curling free kick that had Overland scrambling across his goal but he was helpless as the ball struck the inside of the post and nestled in the net for the third Eastleigh goal.

Forbes had a header from a Piper cross saved by Overland on the hour then three minutes later Fisher reduced the arrears, A turn of pace on the left wing by Wesley Thomas saw him stride into the box steering the ball past Wilkinson and give Fisher a glimpse of a lifeline.

For a while the home side again looked as though they might break through the Eastleigh rearguard, but never threatened Wilkinson. On seventy-eight minutes Eastleigh virtually killed the game when Adeniyi added his second goal of the afternoon. Breaking into the area a low drive by Adeniyi beat Overland and Eastleigh had their three-goal advantage restored.

Two final chances fell the way of Fisher, both to Thomas. A low cross shot that was dealt with by Wilkinson and then a lofted shot from Thomas was not enough to deceive the Crystal Palace goalkeeper either. Watts had the ball in the back of one of his previous clubs’ net in stoppage time firing past Overland but his joy was short lived with an assistant’s offside flag raised against him.

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