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Clinical Eastleigh coast to 3 precious league points


Blue Square South

Report by Jamie Montigue

Having drawn a blank at the Silverlake Stadium on Tuesday night in a 0-0 draw with Hampton & Richmond Borough, Ian Baird was looking for his side to pick up a valuable win to aid the Spitfires’ climb back up the Blue Square South.

The Spitfires achieved two wins out of two against Richard Dryden’s charges last season - a record that the former Saints defender would have been looking to change this afternoon.

Naming an unchanged starting eleven from the midweek draw, Eastleigh made a lively opening as they sought three points at home to Worcester City.

Eastleigh made a great start to the game in getting the ball into the box at the earliest opportunity by pegging the visitors back and under pressure from the off.

Anthony Riviere’s fourth minute strike was heading for the top corner as the game sprung to life, though the tireless midfielder’s effort was denied a spectacular goal thanks to a flying save from Ben Hinchcliffe. Warren Goodhind and Andy Forbes were instrumental in creating the opening with the latter working a neat interplay at the edge of the penalty area for Riviere to take over and force an early corner, which had to be punched away.

A minute later, Brett Poate’s free kick from the left found Andy Forbes in the centre who had lost his marker extremely well only to fire a free header over the cross bar.

Eastleigh continued to overwhelm, bombard and work the Worcester back line extra hard by staying firmly on the front foot. Riviere played a fine one-two with Peter Adeniyi in the 10th minute, but as space opened up in front of him and cries from the Spitfires faithful behind the goal demanding a shot, the tidy midfielder perhaps went for one pass too many looking for Forbes when possession was promptly lost.

Adeniyi and Forbes this time combined at the edge of the penalty area where a perfectly executed sliding challenge from Tom Kemp was enough to block the striker’s shot and divert the danger to a corner kick.

From the resulting set piece, Poate delivered a typically splendid cross that had to be tipped over the bar by Hinchcliffe for a further corner on the far side. Moments later Riviere forced another set piece to keep the pressure on.

With sixteen minutes played, a deep free kick from Danny Smith went all the way through and dangerously across goal with the keeper struggling to get across.

It came as no surprise when the deadlock was broken that it was Eastleigh who grabbed a fully deserved lead in the nineteenth minute. Riviere broke down the right losing his marker before finding ANDY FORBES with a great ball in that sat up just right for the forward to turn home a smart finish from close range.

Soon after taking the lead, Eastleigh were denied a good shout for a penalty. Warren Goodhind’s ball into the box was flicked on by Jordan against the City captain who had his arms out when the ball struck him.

Eastleigh were in full control very rarely letting their visitors forward to trouble Jason Matthews as they maintained their dominance.

Peter Adeniyi worked his way inside from the right touchline with some fancy footwork and a number of step-over’s to lose the attentions of those surrounding his path; the shot that followed was less impressive however with a tame strike from the towering midfielder’s weaker left foot being cleared to safety.

Completely against the run of play, Worcester found themselves level from their very first attack. MARVIN BROWN miss-controlled the ball inside the penalty area but recovered superbly to smash the ball past a helpless Matthews from 10 yards and into the roof of the net for the equalising goal.

On the half hour the two captains came head-to-head in front of Matthews’ goal as Kemp got the better of Jordan to spin the commanding centre half only to prove wasteful with the finish as the shot flew comfortably high and wide.

Eight minutes before the break, RICHARD GILLESPIE raced through to capitalise on a defensive mix-up that saw both Wayne Daniel and Tom Kemp going for the same ball to disastrous effect. Taking full advantage of the blunder, Gillespie kept a cool head to round the goalkeeper and slot home a composed finish restoring Eastleigh’s lead.

Gillespie who increasingly is looking a class act and proving his goal scoring prowess at a higher level of football continued to impress as he set a further Eastleigh attack going three minutes before the break. An excellent touch from the former Bashley striker knocked the ball into the path of Forbes who in turn fed an excellent through ball in behind the defence. Riviere surged into the area but his ran came to a halt following a strong challenge. Gillespie tried to pick up on the loose ball before a second claim for an Eastleigh penalty was snubbed after appeals for hand ball.

Just before the break, City’s goal scorer Brown crossed from the left looking for Marc McGregor at which point Jason Matthews was out off his line to punch the ball away.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 2–1 Worcester City

After a fairly slow start to the second half, a Brett Poate free kick from the right proved to be the perfect delivery into the danger zone. Excellent movement from Tom Jordan was used as a decoy and paved the way for Andy Forbes to steal in for a header; the forward rose high but nodded wide of the mark.

Jamie Brown came on for Gillespie in the 55th minute, as Baird had the luxury of replacing quality with quality. Gillespie would have been pleased with his performance and the goal to cap it, whilst Eastleigh could look forward to the introduction of impact players in the mould of Brown (who is a real handful and looks to make things happen by his physical presence) and later the sheer pace and talent of both Jamie White and Shaun McAuley.

On the hour, Adeniyi played the ball into Poate whose cross from the near side picked out Forbes who couldn’t hit the target with his header.

Eastleigh were back to their best when Taggart worked the ball to Riviere who virtually walked through the Worcester defence playing the ball off Brown for an incisive one-two combination. Having done the hard work, albeit making it look all so easy in strolling into the penalty area, Riviere’s side-foot shot was comfortable enough for Hinchcliffe to make the save.

There was to be no stopping ANTHONY RIVIERE as his 66th minute belter clearly demonstrated. Picking the ball up 25-yards from goal, the box-to-box midfielder let fly with a stunning strike that beat the keeper all ends up as Hinchcliffe was sent completely in the wrong direction as the ball whistled into the bottom corner of goal.

It was the perfect way to put the Spitfires two goals in the clear at 3-1 to extend their advantage with Riviere capping an inspirational all round display.

Baird took the opportunity to turn to his substitute’s bench and introduce another great talent in Southampton loanee Jamie White with the game all but over as a contest.

With sixteen minutes remaining, White came the closest yet to his first goal in Eastleigh colours. He may have been the smallest player on the pitch, but this fact did nothing to stop White out-jumping his six-foot marker from a Poate corner and crash a header against the cross bar.

Two minutes later, a dipping volley from Craig Wilding from just outside the box provided Matthews with a straight-forward take at a decent height. Meanwhile at the opposite end White set about terrorising the City defence as he turned sharply with great pace only to be hacked down by a thoroughly out-witted and frustrated defender.

Winning a free kick for his side high up the park ultimately led to the goal that put the game out of sight for the visitors. Smith’s free kick evaded Brown but still had enough on it to cause Hinchcliffe into panic who could only parry the ball away. TONY TAGGART pounced to slam home the rebound into an empty net for Eastleigh’s fourth goal of a productive afternoon, eleven minutes from time.

The game drifted away for the remainder but Eastleigh had long won it since scoring their third and fourth goals.

Eastleigh saw the game out comfortably to claim their first league win since beating Chelmsford City on the 19th September, whilst convincingly ending Worcester’s three match unbeaten run in the Blue Square South.

An excellent team display from the Spitfires and clinical finishing in front of goal will bode well for the club heading into their FA Cup 1st Round tie at Barrow next weekend.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 4–1 Worcester City

Match pictures by Jamie Montigue Check out the gallery here:


  1. Great to see them win. The two kits look a bit similar!

    Are there any video clips of the goals?


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