He's back! ... Forbes scores on return from injury in VT friendly win

VT FC 1-2 EASTLEIGH

FRIDAY 10th JULY 2009
Pre-Season Friendly


Like he hasn't been away... Andy Forbes scores on his return to action after a long term injury - above Forbes is pictured in tonight's 2-1 friendly win over Vospers

Report by Jamie Montigue

After sustaining a serious Achilles injury at the beginning of the year (January 2009), an injury which ruled Andy Forbes out for over half of the 2008/9 season and restricted the striker to just nine league starts last term, Eastleigh’s key man was finally back in action after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

It was truly a welcome return to see ‘Forbesy’ back playing for the Spitfires again and was like he hadn’t been away. Making it through 53 minutes at Vosper’s in tonight’s pre-season friendly, Forbes scored an equalising goal early in the second half to inspire his team to overcome a 1-0 half time deficit and on to victory.

Winning everything in the air and coming short to combine and feed the ball through for his new strike partner Richard Gillespie was a positive sign of things to come, even at this early stage where preparations are focussed on fitness and getting ready for the new league campaign.

VT’s starting eleven contained many familiar faces including ex-Eastleigh names such as Paul Sales, Ryan Ashford, Kevin Gibbens, Tyrone Bowers and Barry Mason to name but a few.

The first chance of the evening went to the home side who came within inches of opening the scoring as early as the third minute from a corner kick.

Tony Taggart’s cross at the other end had just too much on it for Danny Smith before Taggart fired in a free kick from a tight angle towards the top corner.

In the 19th minute, the pair combined again with Eastleigh’s midfield beginning to see a lot of the ball. Taggart made a lively run from the right flank and slipped a neat pass into the penalty area for Smith whose chipped shot was turned away by the keeper.

Sales hit a speculative effort with a left foot volley that drifted high and wide of Jason Matthews up right in the 27th minute as VT threatened through the pace of Mason on the counter attack, but still it was the Spitfires who were in full control of possession.

Peter Adeniyi, and the tireless Danny Smith who worked from box-to-box constantly and made good use of the ball throughout, bossed the middle of the park for the visitors whilst Taggart was always a threat down the flanks and former AFC Bournemouth youngster Carl Preston, who is on trial with Eastleigh, delivered a number of crosses from wide positions but to no avail.

The commanding back line of Warren Goodhind, Tom Jordan, Aaron Martin and Trevor Challis, were rarely troubled but when called upon were dominant.

Towards the end of the first half, a Taggart free kick went all the way through a crowd of players in the middle but took a deflection and flew narrowly wide of the mark.

Richard Gillespie, full of running, played the ball unselfishly across the face of goal with dangerous pace on the ball but VT managed to survive the scare and scramble the ball away ahead of further danger.

Out of nothing and completely against the run of play, VT took the lead two minutes before the break. A quick throw in from the right hand side caught Eastleigh completely off guard as Adeniyi was left covering the centre halves who had gone forward for a previous set piece, and the hosts capitalised. RYAN ASHFORD received the ball 10 yards from goal, sidestepped two Eastleigh challenges and kept a cool head to slot past Matthews and find the bottom right hand corner of goal.

HALF TIME: VT FC 1-0 Eastleigh

On the back of conceding a shock goal moments before half time despite being in command of first half proceedings, Eastleigh came out all the stronger for it and set out quickly to get back on the front foot and attack.

In a matter of minutes, Forbes had already come close and Gillespie forced a corner, from which came the equalising goal.

With 52 minutes on the clock, ANDY FORBES completed an excellent come back performance with the goal he deserved as his spin shot from the edge of the area found it’s way into the back of the net with the help of a deflection. The shot was already on target however and there was to be no taking the goal away from him as his team mates crowded round the striker in celebration.

Forbes’ job for the night was complete as Baird took the opportunity to rest his star man in order to prevent Andy from doing too much too soon. Brett Williams entered the fray as his replacement and immediately shook up the Vosper back line with pace and skill.

Steve Clark, Ian Oliver and Michael Green all came on in place of Preston, Challis and Martin soon after. Adam 'Taz' Roberts, Kwasi Frempong and Sam Doswell were also given run outs later in the game.

Eastleigh found themselves on the right end of a dubious back pass decision given against the home side, from which Tony Taggart stepped over the ball from 8 yards out but was unable to find a way through the entire VT side who formed a wall right across the goal line.

A left foot cross from Warren Goodhind picked out Tom Jordan at the back post on the hour mark though the towering defender’s downward header was well saved by Lee Webber.

Ashford’s low drive in the 66th minute forced a save out of Matthews before two minutes later Williams was rampant for the Spitfires and turned his marker inside out ,beating his man for pace and sending a dangerous ball across the six yard box where Kevin Brewster turned the ball against his own post.

Eastleigh were at their very best as they took a deserved lead through the highly impressive MICHAEL GREEN. Taggart’s excellent run down the right saw the ball worked back to Gillespie whose low cross was turned in by Green at the far post.

The former Christchurch left-sided defender (centre half or full back), demonstrated his phenomenal versatility as he took up a position on the left of midfield and looked extremely confident. It would appear he has a lot to offer after an impressive display against Southampton at the weekend where he showed great strength and tackling.

Tonight he came on and showed great competence with the ball at his feet, running at defenders and crossing and even popped up with the goal that ultimately won Eastleigh the game in this friendly. He has certainly done his chances of earning himself a contract at the club no harm at all in my eyes and will be one to watch as the pre-season continues.

Both Williams and Sam Doswell headed wide from Oliver and Smith crosses respectively within the space of two minutes, Green then forced another save out of Webber as Eastleigh continued to press.

Seven minutes from time Kevin Gibbens nodded wide from a deep free kick for the hosts before Williams again tortured the VT defence with a brilliant turn and teeing the ball up for Green, whose side foot effort was blocked.

All in all a good run out for Eastleigh with many positives to come out of the game.

FULL TIME – VT FC 1-2 Eastleigh


Match pictures by Jamie Montigue

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