Rooks edge narrow win


Blue Square South

Report by Ray Murphy

Champions elect Lewes, took another step towards the Blue Square South title with this odd goal in five victory over Play Off chasing Eastleigh. With skipper Andy Harris having passed a late fitness test he took the role of centre back to cover the suspended Ashley Vickers, whilst Adam Everitt earned a recall at left back.

It was a cagey opening quarter to the game with both sides knowing the importance of the three points at stake for the afternoon’s fixture. There had been very few openings by the time Eastleigh notched the opening goal of the afternoon on fourteen minutes. Karl Murray intelligently laid the ball into the path of Anthony Riviere to evade a challenge before burying a low strike down past Lewes goalkeeper Michael Jordan from the edge of the box.

The Spitfires’ lead lasted only four minutes. A free kick from the Lewes left flank from Simon Wormull arrived at the far post for captain Stephen Robinson to place a firm header into the roof of the net for his second goal in two weeks (his only two of the season).

Murray had two half chances inside a minute to restore Eastleigh’s lead but Jordan saved the first attempt whilst the second flashed across the face of the Lewes goal. As the game started to open up, play switched to the opposite end where Lewes area attacking down their slope with the wind behind their backs. Luke Byles saw an attempted clearance hit Dale Binns in the back and fall invitingly for Matt Groves. Groves’ early shot was well saved by Jason Matthews.

With twenty-nine minutes played Lewes took the lead. Binns’ wind assisted cross-cum shot swerved onto the top of the Eastleigh bar and as the ball came back into play Paul Booth fired home the loose ball. The final attempt of the opening half fell for Chris Piper who exchanged roles at full back to a midfield berth with Riviere, but his long-range effort was off target.

Three minutes into the second period Peter Adeniyi returning to one of his former clubs saw a shot saved by Jordan. Kevin James has another attempt on goal that produced a double stop from the Lewes keeper. It was Eastleigh that were enjoying the majority of the possession for the second period. They deservedly netted an equaliser on sixty-seven minutes. James skipped past his defender on the right flank and sent a low cross into the area where Andy Forbes diverted the ball into the net.

At that time you would have given Eastleigh the advantage and the favourites tag to go on and win the game. Groves was clear on a Lewes breakaway but his lofted shot over Matthews carried no power. On seventy-two minutes the game started to turn against the Spitfires. Adam Everitt’s caution worthy challenge on Andrew Drury saw a melee of players on both sides. After all had calmed down, referee John Magill from Colchester after consultation with his assistant’s dismissed Adeniyi for alleged violent conduct.

Paul Sales saw a snap shot saved on seventy-nine minutes by Jordan and two minutes later Lewes grabbed what proved to be the deciding goal. Poor defensive play from Eastleigh never cleared a Lewes corner and Ian Simpenda had the easiest of chances to fire home a shot from inside the six-yard box. The final chance of the afternoon fell to Drury who curled a shot wide of the target but Eastleigh were left to reflect a week in which they had played three of the top side in the division and only had two points from the games to show for their efforts.


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