Professional Eastleigh avoid 'side show' banana skin to win again


Blue Square South

Report by Ray Murphy

The press and media coverage surrounding Fisher Athletic and the manageress for the day Donna Powell, saw a testing evening for Eastleigh Football Club to ensure they remained focused on their objectives of the Wednesday trip to Fisher and gain three points to keep their hope of a play off place firmly in their sights.

Whatever was happening off the park, Eastleigh had to face a side that made five changes from their previous fixture and also on a run of eleven consecutive defeats in the Blue Square South. What the home side did offer was a strong team performance with a couple of really pacy strikers/wingers amongst their side. For Eastleigh Warren Goodhind was ruled unfit and Steve Clark took over the role of right back, with that exception it was the side that had beaten Chelmsford City ten days earlier.

With the loan signing of Jonny Dixon renewed hours earlier from Brighton & Hove Albion F C, it was the loan striker who opened the scoring with the first attempt on goal after ten minutes. Luke Byles' long throw into the Fisher area was flicked on by Tom Jordan, with the Fisher defence unable to get a full clearance on the ball, Dixon saw his original shot blocked before being able to shoot home the rebound for his second goal in an Eastleigh shirt.

With an attendance of 287, which is considerably higher than normally expected at Fisher Athletic nowadays, it seemed to all that Eastleigh would cruise to a comfortable victory. If Eastleigh could have executed their approach play to a better advantage then that may have been correct. Fisher although forced to defend for large parts of the game, were always looking dangerous on their breakaways.

With Dixon having to limp away from the action on twenty minutes, and Fisher using the pace of Seb Schoburgh and Carl Gibbs, Eastleigh always had to be on their guard to prevent the home side from scoring. That said though Jason Matthews had an untroubled first half.

Ashley Carew sticking to the right flank having just switched over after thirty eight minutes, cut in from the wing and sent a left foot shot just wide of the target as first half goal action was pretty much non existent. On forty-two minutes though Eastleigh grabbed the all-important second goal. Ex-Fisher midfielder Anthony Riviere nipped the ball in behind the Fisher defence whilst stood just outside the area. Tony Taggart collected and fired a rising left foot drive into the roof of Fisher's net.

As half time approached Tom Jordan headed wide from a Carew corner and then in stoppage time Taggart laid the ball off for Peter Adeniyi who neatly side stepped his defender before placing the ball just the wrong side of the upright.

The second half retained much of the same story. Again goalmouth incidents were few and far between. Jordan headed another Taggart corner over the bar on fifty-six minutes whilst Aaron Martin had a somewhat cheeky goal bound attempt from deep inside his own half that bounced kindly for Fisher goalkeeper Ashley Jones after he had strayed a long way from his goal line.

Fisher caused their first real concern in the Eastleigh defence on sixty-seven minutes. Gibbs’ pace took him through the Eastleigh rearguard but his shot was pushed away by Matthews. From the resultant corner Caleb Kamara-Taylor completely miss-kicked in front of goal and Eastleigh cleared to safety.

Eastleigh were not creating much at the opposite end either. Brett Williams took an early shot from Carew's pass but Jones was positioned well enough to handle. But the final few minutes caused Eastleigh some flutters. With two minutes remaining, Fisher substitute John Raus was brought down on the edge of the area by Jordan. The American midfielder got up to guide a free kick over the Eastleigh wall and nestle inside the post of the Eastleigh net to give the home side hope of an equaliser to follow.

Despite there being an additional three minutes stoppage time at the end of the fixture though, neither goalkeeper was called into action in an attempt to change the score. The win leaves Eastleigh in fourth place, twelve points clear of their nearest play off rivals with thirteen games to play.


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