Shootout win for Eastleigh in cup classic - Taz saves the day again!


Setanta Shield Round 1

By Jamie Montigue

In this Setanta Shield first round tie at the Silverlake Stadium, Eastleigh faced league rivals Weston-Super-Mare for the second time in a fortnight.

Warren Goodhind was handed his first start since his return to the club, whilst former Southampton Academy FA Youth cup winner Josh Dutton-Black made his debut for the club playing on the left of midfield.

Resting one or two regular first team players, Ian Baird gave Gareth Howells a full game, meanwhile Matt Groves returned to the starting line up.

A little over a minute had been played when Eastleigh had won a free kick high up the field and to the right of goal, which skipper Andy Harris took quickly playing a clever ball short into the penalty area. Groves picked it up well shooting first time on the turn but was unlucky to find the side netting only.

What looked like a promising opening for the hosts, turned out to be far from it with the visitors striking twice inside eleven minutes turning matters sour for Eastleigh.

It took Weston-Super-Mare just six minutes to open the scoring when an unfortunate Tom Jordan headed past his own goalkeeper from a Dean Grubb free kick with the ball cannoning down off the cross bar and crossing the line.

Jordan badly sliced a clearance towards his own goal soon after, this time from Ludovic Quistin's (Arsenal's William Gallas' cousin) low ball into the area from the left hand side.

Where there was definitely an element of luck about Weston's first goal, there was no doubting the quality of their second which came in the eleventh minute.

Dean Grubb, who was lively throughout, provided a precise cross from the right for the Seagulls' captain ANDY GURNEY to drill home with a powerful strike from the edge of the area.

With Eastleigh finding themselves two goals down, things were not looking too good, though it was still far too early to write off a come back.

In the 16th minute, an Andy Harris free kick from deep saw Tom Jordan get up extremely well to direct a header towards the top corner only for Ryan Northmore to match the attempt with a fine save diving at full stretch to keep the ball out.

The former Havant & Waterlooville skipper was clearly looking to make amends for his earlier mistake and was putting himself about in front of goal from set pieces, heading just wide from another Harris corner two minutes later.

The same combination of Harris and Jordan were threatening to pull a goal back with Jordan again coming close getting to the ball first from a further set piece on 31 minutes but not quite able to keep his header down.

Eastleigh were slowly but surely coming into the game towards the end of the half and it showed with their attacking play becoming more prominent. Peter Adeniyi's low ball into the box had to be turned behind, and with it the danger cut out at the near post ten minutes before the break.

Howells was called into action on the stroke of half time to deny Darren Mullings with an instinctive reaction save from a mere 8 yards. The Weston player failed to make any decent contact on the rebound as Eastleigh escaped going further behind.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 0-2 Weston-Super-Mare

Eastleigh's first attack of the second half saw Jordan flick on a Harris throw in where Anthony Riviere was presented with a good opportunity, though the former Fisher Athletic midfielder's attempted header was somewhat tame lacking enough power to trouble Northmore.

Adeniyi sliced an effort high and wide, following impressive link up play between Riviere and Matt Groves before Tony Taggart came on to replace Dutton-Black in the 56th minute.

Eastleigh came their closest yet to finding a goal with Peter Adeniyi's header coming back off the cross bar from a Luke Byles left-wing cross.

The Spitfires continued to mount pressure and the attacks on the Weston goal were beginning to be both far more frequent and numerous.

From a Taggart corner, Adeniyi flicked the ball into the path of Riviere who could only manage to slice a shot wide with his weaker left foot.

Four minutes after the hour mark, Taggart, who was providing that much needed width that seemed to be lacking in the first half, sent over an intended cross whilst slightly off-balance and nearly caught out the keeper with the ball clipping the top of the bar.

James Baker came on for David Hughes with twenty minutes remaining.

Eastleigh finally got their just rewards for their efforts with a 73rd minute goal. Adeniyi's cross saw Taggart held back inside the six yard box in front of goal but it fell kindly for MATT GROVES who spun and fired high into the roof of the net at a crucial time giving a glimmer of hope that his side could still find a way back into the tie.

From this point on, it was one-way traffic with Eastleigh dominating the final third and pinning back their opponents.

Baker did very well down the right wing beating two men before finding Groves in the middle who in turn pulled the trigger which was deflected narrowly over the bar by an excellent sliding challenge on the edge of the penalty area.

With ten minutes remaining, Baird sent on Saturday's star man Adam 'Taz' Roberts in place of Matt Bodkin.

In the 84th minute, Baker squandered a chance of an equaliser as he couldn't keep his header down at the far post from a Taggart cross.

Eastleigh were still creating chances deep into the additional time of four minutes with Taggart coming closest, cutting inside having beaten a couple of markers only to shoot inches wide of the post from 25 yards.

Miraculously the late drama at the Silverlake Stadium had returned for a second game running with the Spitfires taking the game to extra time through their new-found hero ADAM ROBERTS. The youngster, who oozes enthusiasm was played through by James Baker in the third minute of stoppage time and made no mistake despite the tremendous pressure on him to get the goal.

Taz took one touch to get it out of his feet before firing over the keeper and into the net.

Another great come back from the Spitfires, who are beginning to get a bit of a reputation for this now!

This was just the beginning of this epic cup encounter, as the goal meant the players would have to do battle in extra time with a further fifteen minutes each way.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 2-2 Weston-Super-Mare

ADAM ROBERTS really can do no wrong at present it would appear, as his night went from good to great as he fired Eastleigh into the lead for the first time in the game four minutes before the break in the first half of extra time.

Tony Taggart's cross was met by a sublime first touch by Taz which saw the ball steered past the keeper and into the net for 3-2.

Barely a minute later, DARREN MULLINGS ensured Weston-Super-Mare were back on level terms with an excellent diving header to put the ball beyond Howells and into the corner of goal.

The thriLling cup entertainment on this September evening continued to throw up new twists as demonstrated by Eastleigh making it 4-3 with virtually the last kick of the half. Taz provided the cross from the left hand side which TONY TAGGART met beautifully on the volley, slamming home to restore the lead with the seventh goal of the night!

EXTRA TIME HALF TIME – Eastleigh 4-3 Weston-Super-Mare

Three minutes into the second period of extra time, a fine Eastleigh move was thwarted by Northmore who saved well to deny Baker.

The game was still not over yet as the visitors drew level through a JAMES PALMER shot that whistled into the top corner having taken a heavy deflection.

Two minutes from time, Baker's side-footed acrobatic volley from close range following Roberts' header into the box, was comfortably over the cross bar.

It remained all square at 4-4 meaning the game had to be settled by a penalty shootout.

EXTRA TIME FULL TIME – Eastleigh 4-4 Weston-Super-Mare

Eastleigh held their nerves to secure a memorable victory.

Weston-Super-Mare were up first and scored, before Tony Taggart took Eastleigh's first spot kick and made no mistake.

Weston scored their next, and similarly Eastleigh responded through a confident Luke Byles penalty.

Gareth Howells made a good save to give his side the upper hand and then Matt Groves put Eastleigh in front. 3-2.

Ryan Paddock levelled it up at 3-3 and James Baker despatched his putting the Spitfires one ahead at 4-3.

Darren Mullings scored Weston's fifth penalty to make it 4-4, meaning Eastleigh just needed to score from 12-yards with the next kick to take them through to the next round.

The pressure fell upon Peter Adeniyi, who ironically missed a penalty on Saturday, and did so again tonight smashing against the cross bar.

Into sudden death it went. Howells pulled off his second save of the shoot out and Tom Jordan could then complete proceedings with the winning penalty.

A superb and thoroughly enjoyable game of football that went right to the wire saw Eastleigh deservedly come through in the end and secure their place in the 2nd round.



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