Spitfires still in search of first Saturday win after Thurrock defeat


Blue Square South

A hat-trick by Thurrock's David Bryant was enough to ensure Eastleigh's start to the new campaign has got off to a win-less start on Saturday's.

With five games played, the Spitfires have lost three matches in the regular 3:00pm weekend kick-offs whilst their two wins, both of which have been by emphatic scorelines, have come in the mid-week fixtures over Weymouth and Bromley.

The fit-again Anthony Riviere, who returned in the 6-1 demolition of Bromley at the Silverlake Stadium on Tuesday night along with Jamie Brown, opened the scoring with a 12th minute opener before Bryant grabbed his first of afternoon with a 29th minute equaliser.

Tom Jordan restored the visitors' lead to hand Ian Baird's side a 2-1 advantage at the break, but Bryant caused more damage in front of goal to complete a hat-trick, in the second half with his second coming shorty after the hour and the winning goal seven minutes from time.

Report by Ray Murphy

Although no excuses can be made for Eastleigh’s third successive Saturday defeat, luck with player’s injuries and availability is definitely not assisting the Eastleigh cause so far. Travelling to Thurrock, who themselves are so far unbeaten this season, Eastleigh knew that they would be without wide man Tony Taggart through suspension but were then further hindered by the news that the opposite winger Shaun McAuley also faces a spell on the touchline with a knee injury - the full extent of which is unknown as yet.

An emergency short-term loan signing of Michael Gosney from AFC Totton was completed on Friday allowing Gosney to start this fixture on the substitutes bench. Eastleigh were further hampered when Richard Gillespie failed a late fitness test. Eastleigh started the fixture with Pete Adeniyi and Brett Poate occupying the winger positions.

On the field the afternoon started quite brightly for Eastleigh. They went ahead on twelve minutes as Adeniyi’s ball into Anthony Riviere on the edge of the box saw the midfielder spin and then shoot on the turn to bury a low left foot drive down past goalkeeper Joe Woolley to give Eastleigh the lead.

But the afternoon then started to turn. Jamie Brown went down in the box following a corner from which he needed extensive treatment on an ankle injury. Although Brown managed to return to the pitch he was soon to be replaced by Brett Williams. One of Williams’ first involvement came within sixty seconds of his introduction when Poate's cross was pushed away by Woolley but Williams’ return shot was easily collected by the keeper.

Danny Smith had another effort that was saved by Woolley but it was the home side that scored an equaliser on twenty-nine minutes. Paul Olima cleverly played the ball into David Bryant allowing the striker to lob the ball over the advancing Jason Matthews to draw Thurrock level.

As the game swung from end to end Eastleigh nosed themselves ahead again on thirty-eight minutes. Warren Goodhind's long throw was headed away by Olima but the ball only fell for Adeniyi to fire a low shot back through a crowded penalty area, the ball finally arriving at Tom Jordan who managed to get the ball out of his feet before striking Eastleigh ahead again. The final chance of the half fell four minutes into stoppage time when a free kick arrived at the feet of Fola Orilonishe in the six-yard area but the winger only managed to fire the ball over the bar.

The second half was a quieter affair on the chances front. Thurrock scored a second equaliser with one of the few chances created on sixty-six minutes. Orilonishe's cross from the right flank saw the ball arrive at the far post where Bryant stretched to head the ball back across Matthews and into the net for Thurrock's second goal.

Smith and Gosney both had efforts saved by Woolley but it always seemed that if a winning goal was to arrive it would be the home side that would claim it. The goal did arrive seven minutes from time. Ex-Eastleigh winger Matt Bodkin saw a shot blocked but the ball returned to him allowing him to lay the ball off for Bryant to shoot home his hat trick.

In the closing stages of the fixture, both Riviere for Eastleigh and Bodkin for Thurrock went close but there was no further addition to the score.


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