Rooks force replay deep into injury time


FA Trophy 3rd Round Qualifying
Report by Jamie Montigue

It was a miserable, rainy November afternoon at the Silverlake Stadium as Steve Ibbitson's Lewes travelled to face Eastleigh for the second week running.

In similar adverse weather conditions to last Saturday, a game that saw a second minute own goal seal three league points for Ian Baird's side; today was all about the cup in this FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying round tie.

With Tom Jordan serving a suspension for picking up five bookings, Steve Cook who joined Eastleigh on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion this week, came straight into the heart of the defence for his Spitfires debut alongside namesake Aaron Cook. The game started well enough for the 18-year-old but ultimately ended prematurely in disappointment.

The only other change to the starting line up from last weekend saw Shaun McAuley handed a start in place of Tony Taggart. Warren Goodhind meanwhile played what is thought to be the defender’s last home game for the club before he moves to Spain.

GOODHIND: Assured display as ever, Warren will be sorely missed

The action began with the hosts on the front foot. Steve Cook’s first introduction in the white of Eastleigh saw the defender launch a long throw into the penalty area which could only be cleared as far as Anthony Riviere. The tireless midfielder, captain for the day in place of Jordan, picked up on the loose ball to fire a great effort towards goal that whistled narrowly past the post.

In the sixth minute, a Goodhind cross from the right was spilled by Rikki Banks under pressure from Richard Gillespie who reacted first to hook the ball back across goal. Unfortunately for the hard-working Eastleigh striker the effort was off target.

Four minutes later, Jamie Brown flicked the ball on to the lively Gillespie. The former Bashley hot-shot raced into the penalty area to the left of goal and hit a low drive on his weaker left foot to force a good save low down by the keeper at his near post. From the resulting set piece, Danny Smith’s delivery in search of the far post struck the cross bar directly from the corner

Eastleigh maintained their early pressure with loanee Cook picking the ball up just inside the Lewes half and spotting an opening in front of him. The young defender tried his luck from way out with a speculative effort that skidded up off the surface proving to be tricky for Banks. The Lewes stopper spilled the ball but gathered it safely at the second attempt.

Shaun McAuley broke high up the pitch as a Lewes corner broke down and was cleared before Peter Adeniyi knocked the ball forward to the ex-Hampton & Richmond winger. A 2 v 1 situation arose as Lewes were caught short at the back though McAuley, having done the hard work in carrying the ball some 50 yards, couldn’t find the killer pass to make the most of the opportunity.

Aaron Cook had a shot deflected through to the keeper and shortly after, Gillespie continued to pose a real threat with his non-stop running and energy. Losing his marker for pace, Gillespie had his shorts blatantly pulled just outside the box to the left of goal. Smith’s free kick was played short to Riviere whose shot was charged down well.

GILLESPIE: Caused problems all afternoon with non-stop effort

Midway through the half a cross from Gillespie was just behind McAuley as Eastleigh broke forward in numbers once more. Minutes later a Brett Poate free kick was fired straight into the wall from distance.

Eastleigh took a thoroughly deserved lead in the 29th minute finally having something to show on the scoreboard to match their dominating pressure. Anthony Riviere skipped into the penalty area down the left channel only to be chopped down by Ryan Timms; referee Matt Foley had little hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up-stepped a cool, calm and collected PETER ADENIYI who sent Banks the wrong way by despatching the ball into the bottom left hand corner from 12 yards.

ADENIYI: Eastleigh open the scoring from the penalty spot

The visitors were kept firmly under control, failing to register a shot throughout the first forty-five minutes. Steve Arnold, playing in his third successive game for the Spitfires in Jason Matthews' absence was a mere spectator for large periods; confirming Eastleigh's dominance for the majority of the game.

Three minutes before the break, Gillespie held the ball up brilliantly allowing Riviere to storm forward and latch on to the knock down. The captain’s side-foot shot from 25-yards forced a good save from Banks as Eastleigh ended the half playing some good attacking football.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 1-0 Lewes

With just the one goal to show for the Spitfires’ efforts, Eastleigh went in search of extending their advantage after the break. A second goal would have made the lead all the more comfortable though the rain fell heavier still resulting in the pitch becoming very boggy and making playing conditions extremely difficult.

Eastleigh had the best of the chances after the break but still couldn't find that elusive goal, which in effect would probably have put the game beyond doubt.

A minute into the second half a Brett Poate free kick from deep saw Jamie Brown glance a header into the arms of goalkeeper Banks.

For the first time in the game, Joe Keehan tested Steve Arnold in the Eastleigh goal with an excellent 30-yard free kick that had great power. Arnold was more than a match for the well-struck shot however, and watched it all the way into his gloves where he held on to the ball extremely well.

A purposeful run from McAuley down the right hand side opened up a golden opportunity for Riviere, just yards from goal. But for a perfectly timed intervention to deny a tap in and otherwise certain goal, Eastleigh would have been two goals to the good.

ON THE RUN: Shaun McAuley skips past his marker

At the opposite end, Lewes were beginning to stretch Eastleigh on the break and get the ball into the box far more than they had all game causing Arnold to be at his best with a strong double-handed punch to clear the danger on two occasions.

Ian Baird made a double substitution just past the hour mark with Andy Forbes replacing Brown and minutes later, McAuley making way for Tony Taggart.

In the 71st minute Richard Gillespie looked to capitalise on some sloppy defending as he powered his way through into the box and worked himself some room for a shooting opportunity having got the better of his marker. Clear of the defence, Gillespie found himself in a great position to trouble the keeper as his shot had to be expertly turned away by the legs of Banks. A great save, an even better chance.

Two minutes later, Steve Cook; who was drafted in for his Eastleigh debut to replace the suspended Tom Jordan, was shown a straight red card for a sliding challenge on Tim Rivers in attempting to cut out a through ball.

Being the last defender and denying a goal scoring opportunity would have been a major factor in the officials' decision in dismissing Cook who had a solid first game up to this point; it was just unfortunate for both the player and Eastleigh that his afternoon had to end this way.

Ten-man Eastleigh were suddenly up against a rare spell of pressure to contend with so soon after the red card as Arnold again had to punch the ball away and Daniel Royce volleyed wide of the mark.

Andy Forbes was drafted into centre half thus leaving Gillespie, and a little later substitute Jamie White, operating as the lone striker.

In the 77th minute, Taggart had a great chance to double Eastleigh’s advantage though the winger scooped the ball high over the bar when well placed. Gillespie’s run wreaked havoc at the back for Lewes as Taggart’s initial shot from close range was blocked. Riviere was then forced wide but did well to pull the ball back for Taggart who blazed over to squander a good chance to put the tie to bed.

With nine minutes remaining, Jamie White was sent on in place of Gillespie and did an efficient job in leading the line in the short space of time he was given.

Indeed the Southampton loanee may well have got himself a goal as he created a chance out of nothing from a long ball forward down the left touchline. Out-sprinting the Lewes full back by some distance, White picked up the ball towards the far corner of the pitch but didn’t have much on or support in attack with him, so he went alone in cutting inside using his quick footwork to make space for a shot. White’s curling effort arched agonisingly close to finding the back of the net but flew inches wide.

Four minutes were added on at the end of the 90 minutes when, to Lewes’ credit, the Rooks’ kept going right to the final whistle and got their just rewards in the dyeing seconds of stoppage time. With virtually the last kick of the game, the visitors found the back of the net with a free header and dramatic equalising goal by JACK WALDER.

The goalkeeper Banks was up for the corner and caused mayhem in the Eastleigh penalty area to play his part in diverting the attentions of the Spitfires defence and in so doing created space for Walder to steal in unmarked and force a replay.

It was a cruel blow for Eastleigh in conceding so late on, but the tie will now have be settled on Wednesday night at the Dripping Pan as both sides face each other for a third successive game.

DESPAIR: Late Lewes leveller forces replay

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 1-0 Lewes


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