Second successive comfortable away win for Eastleigh


Blue Square South

Report by Ray Murphy

What a difference seventy-two hours in football makes. From an extremely disappointing F A Trophy exit at the hands of Bashley, Eastleigh returned to take three points in an away fixture against a side in the top tier of the table for a second successive away fixture.

It was not as if the evening started easily for The Spitfires either. With Warren Goodhind failing a fitness test and Trevor Challis out injured, Andy Forbes was forced to take the more unfamiliar role of centre back. It came really as no surprise at the end of the match that Forbes had given a man of the match performance. Jamie Brown returned to the strike force to partner Matt Groves whilst Luke Byles returned from suspension to fill the left back role allowing Steve Clark to move forward into the midfield.

The reunited strike force linked in the fourth minute with Brown flicking on Clark's pass to allow Groves to shoot past Team Bath goalkeeper Darren Chitty on his 200th appearance for the home side.

It was fortunate that the game did have such an explosive opening, as the next thirty-nine minutes produced no goalmouth drama. Team Bath held a lot of possession during that time but Eastleigh keeper Jason Matthews was never troubled and his opposite number Chitty also had a comfortable evening. Despite having worked hard to gain possession through the half, Eastleigh added a second goal in the forty third minute. Groves helped on Andy Harris' cross and Tony Taggart struck a left foot shot beyond Chitty in to the corner of the net.

Eastleigh had the better of the exchanges with the Bath slope in their favour for the opening to the second period. On fifty-seven minutes a Groves cushioned header allowed Anthony Riviere a shot that was just wide. A minute later Harris’ long-range free kick almost caught Chitty straying from his line, but he recovered to field the shot. Immediately Taggart's corner saw Brown's header saved by Chitty.

Team Bath completed a triple substitution on sixty-three minutes but this made little impact on the game. Gary Warren's header from a free kick was saved by Matthews then in the seventy first minute Matthews did produce an excellent stop to deny Ben Thomson and Team Bath realised it was not going to be their evening.

On seventy-five minutes Eastleigh killed the game with a third goal. Taggart's left wing cross arrived at the far post for Peter Adeniyi to fire home his second goal in three games.

Team Bath produced a tame free kick effort from Marc Canham that was straight at Matthews and Matt Bodkin saw a shot saved by Chitty as the game ran its course to the ninetieth minute.

The only blot on the evening for Eastleigh was in the second minute of stoppage time they allowed Team Bath substitute Matt Cooper to scramble the ball home from a corner kick for no more than a consolation goal but still denying Eastleigh a clean sheet, which strangely enough they have only done in two league games so far this season and they both came in the opening three matches of the campaign.


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