Worcester 0-1 Eastleigh

WORCESTER CITY v EASTLEIGH



SATURDAY 21st MARCH 2009
Blue Square South

Report by Ray Murphy


A first ever trip to mid-table Midlands side Worcester City brought Eastleigh a further three points to their quest of promotion thanks to a penalty three minutes from time, from not what you can describe as the best game of football you ever saw.

At this stage of the season perhaps it is now the fact that results actually mean more than the performance, though for long spells it seemed that the home side that have only won four home games all season, despite one of those being against league leaders AFC Wimbledon, would have settled for a point from the outset.

Eastleigh were still without the injured Anthony Riviere along with Andy Forbes and Andy Harris, whilst Bertie Brayley was unavailable and Gavin Heeroo suspended. Ashley Carew moved to a central midfield role along side Peter Adeniyi with Tony Taggart and Steve Clark taking the flanks. A highly disappointing opening half brought three chances. In a sudden spate of action on twelve minutes Carew's free kick was back-headed by Jamie Brown and just wide, then two minutes later an immediate response from Worcester saw Jamie Price’s free kick headed into the net by skipper Craig Wilding only to be ruled out for offside.

On the stroke of half time Taggart was allowed to carve a run right through the Worcester defence before laying the ball to his right for Adeniyi just on the edge of the box, but the midfielder screwed his effort wide of the upright.

The second period was slightly better, as the half progressed, Eastleigh were always the side that looked more likely to bag a winner. Four minutes into the second period an acrobatic overhead attempt from the Worcester striker Marco Adaggio brought a fine save from Jason Matthews.

On fifty-eight minutes manager Ian Baird withdrew Clark for Matt Groves allowing Carew to switch to his normal wide role and Brown reverting to a midfield position. Two minutes later Price’s corner was punched clear by Matthews the ball falling to the edge of the box for Gary Walker but he blazed his effort high over the bar.

The game though then turned Eastleigh’s way. On sixty-four minutes a Tom Jordan header from an Adeniyi cross was saved by home goalkeeper Danny McDonnell. On seventy-nine minutes another Carew free kick saw another Jordan header saved by McDonnell but the ball fell for Jonny Dixon who only managed to fire over.

Eastleigh were exerting more pressure. Only six minutes remained when Carew skipped past his defender before sending in a low cross that was ballooned over the bar by Brown. Three minutes later as the ball was played into the area for the chasing Groves, all in the ground could see the movement of Groves’ shirt as Oliver Barnes tugged the striker back once too often for the liking of referee Simon Bennett who awarded a penalty. Tony Taggart sent a low left footed effort right into the corner of the net beyond the reach of McDonnell for what turned out to be the decisive goal.

As Worcester battled back in an attempt to save themselves a point the closest they came was in the final minute when an excellent tackle from Aaron Martin in the area denied Wilding a shooting chance and give Eastleigh their second single goal success in two weeks.

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