Spitfires fry the Fish


Blue Square South

By Jamie Montigue

Eastleigh continued their 100% start to the new campaign with their third successive victory and, for the second match in a row scoring three goals.

Leroy Griffiths made his Spitfires debut having linked up with former boss Ian Baird in an unlikely reunion this week, this after the well-documented falling out at Havant and Waterlooville early last season.

The experienced 31-year-old came straight into the starting eleven against one of his former teams as the only change from the midweek win over Newport County replacing Mark Marshall, now of Swindon Town in League One.

Young striker Tom Clarke also joined this week from Dorchester Town and started on the bench.

The game started very unfortunately for Fisher's Lawrence Yiga. The tall centre forward clashed with one of his own players and suffered concussion forcing the visitors into an early change.

After a scrappy opening to the game, it was perhaps Fisher who had the better of the play to begin with.

In the 13th minute, Jeff Goulding pushed a good ball through for Anwah Jones to chase where Tom Jordan had to step in and clear for a corner to cut out the danger.

Two minutes later, Luke Hickie played the ball down the line to Damien Batt whose cross into the box found Jeff Goulding at the near post. Goulding, presented with a good chance, got his feet in a tangle and the opportunity was gone with Eastleigh lucky to escape without damage.

For a good quarter of an hour to twenty minutes, there was a distinct lack of cutting edge and tempo from Eastleigh with not one shot or attempt at goal for such a long time it seemed, when the game suddenly took a turn for the better on the half hour.

Tony Taggart's pinpoint cross from the right, having beaten his man and getting on to his left foot, picked out JAMES BAKER beautifully who glanced an excellent header across the goalkeeper and into the corner of goal to break the deadlock.

The goal brought much needed impetus to the hosts play and suddenly the game had livened up.

Eastleigh went on to win two corners in a row as Anthony Riviere's cross was headed behind by Andy Sambrook.

Tom Jordan was shoved to the ground by Goulding towards the end of the half after the former Hawks captain confronted the player about a foul on Peter Adeniyi. The referee spoke to both of his assistants about the incident but bewilderingly kept his cards in his pocket much to the disbelief of Baird and his coaching staff.

Five minutes before the break Baker was booked for a typical striker's challenge on Gavyn Dayes for which he received a yellow card despite the defender appearing to make the most of it and going down in slow-motion.

In the second minute of time added on at the end of the half, Fisher's Scott Gooding chipped the ball in for Goulding who wanted to bring the ball down though his control got the better of him and the chance went away.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 1–0 Fisher Athletic

Eastleigh had visibly shifted up a gear since the break and immediately looked sharper and more hungry to win the game.

A fine dribble and cross from Taggart showed good creativity to open up the Fisher defence in the penalty area but there was no white shirt at the back post to get on the end of it.

The re-doubled efforts had paid off as on 50 minutes, Eastleigh doubled their lead with a second goal. Tony Taggart's surging run through the middle of park saw the former Havant midfielder leave his marker trailing in his shadow before getting his shot away.

Simon Overland in the Fisher goal couldn't hold on to the ball and parried it kindly for PETER ADENIYI who was on hand to tap home his first goal of the season.

Tom Jordan came within a whisker of making it three a moment later as he blasted the ball on the half volley from the edge of area. The commanding centre half's powerful attempt took a slight deflection to earn a corner ball, the chance coming about as Jordan pounced on a stray ball after Baker had tried to find a way into the box.

A bizarre one-two between Andy Harris and Tony Taggart from a corner saw Taggart badly slice it back out to the wing unintentionally. The Eastleigh skipper picked up the return ball and his cross went just behind and out for a goal kick.

Jamie Brown replaced James Baker on 53 minutes, and the combative midfielder took to the field in an attacking role alongside the extremely hard-working Matt Groves, who both played together at Dorchester Town for several seasons.

Brown played a good early ball into Riviere soon after coming on. Riviere's low shot however, was smothered by the goalkeeper.

A minute before the hour, a low cross from the left by Trevor Challis found it's way to Jamie Brown who did very well to get past his man but unfortunately couldn't find the finish.

The Spitfires continued a good spell of dominance with Taggart turning Mark Wright completely inside out with yet more nifty footwork before placing a superb ball across the face of goal. Gavyn Dayes sliced behind at the far post, narrowly evading an own goal.

Chris Mason replaced Leroy Griffiths with fifteen minutes to play, the latter enjoying his first action in the white of Eastleigh, although the best is yet to come once the new signing can build up his match sharpness.

Eastleigh kept the visitors in their own half for large parts of the second half and made sure of the win with a third goal twelve minutes from time. ANTHONY RIVIERE scored his second goal in as many games having been played in by Taggart and firing into the corner of goal with his left foot to put one over his former club with a good run into the middle and a lovely finish with his left foot.

Jamie Brown chased a lost cause to win the ball and possession close to the corner flag, where he then delivered a cross that was only just behind Groves, who still managed to get a header to it that spun off harmlessly.

Another three points secured, as Eastleigh move up to third in the table. It is far too early to be worrying about league standings at this early stage but continuing in this vein winning games, will do us no harm at all.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 3–0 Fisher Athletic


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