Spitfires crash out of FA Trophy in Lewes replay


FA Trophy 3rd Round Qualifying Replay
Report by Ray Murphy
Lewes faced a court hearing on the morning of this F A Trophy Third Qualifying Round replay over an unpaid tax bill, from which they were given an extension to pay until January and ended the day with this single goal victory earning them £4,000 winners money from the tie and an away draw at Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Eastleigh were without Brett Poate who had failed a fitness test to be replaced by Trevor Challis and for Lewes the evening may be the corner of the season that their resurgent form may be remembered.

Eastleigh struggled to get out of the starting blocks and produced a somewhat under par performance. Despite that though they had created enough chances to have won this fixture handsomely. Eastleigh had the opening chance on the tenth minute when Richard Gillespie and Shaun McAuley combined but McAuley shot wide of the target.

The game was then contested in midfield with neither strike force testing the keeper’s at either end. On twenty minutes the home side took the lead. The pace of winger David Wheeler had caused problems for the Eastleigh rearguard for the opening period and again after skipping away past Challis, Wheeler drilled his cross across the face of the Eastleigh penalty area allowing Daniel Royce to fire an unstoppable drive past Jason Matthews to put Lewes ahead.

The goal seemed to shock Eastleigh in to life. On twenty four minutes Andy Forbes’ cross was parried away by Lewes goalkeeper Rikki Banks but unfortunately for Eastleigh there was no one following up to be able to convert the loose ball. Five minutes later McAuley played the ball in for Gillespie, Gillespie laid the ball back for Danny Smith but the midfielder’s shot was blocked.

Aaron Cook saw a header from a Smith corner land on the top of the net on thirty minutes then five minutes later from another Smith corner, Tom Jordan headed wide.

The Eastleigh management team made a double switch at the interval to try and revitalise The Spitfires. Challis and Forbes were withdrawn to be replaced by Warren Goodhind and Jamie Brown.

Having had the upper hand again for the opening period, Lewes produced a quick breakaway on the hour and a strike from Anthony Barness was just off target. Lewes had another attempt four minutes later, Kane Louis’ long-range effort being pushed away by Steve Arnold.

Steve Cook headed a Tony Taggart cross just wide on sixty-six minutes then seven minutes later another Taggart delivery from a corner was headed over by Gillespie. Taggart headed back McAuley’s cross on seventy-seven minutes but this time Gillespie saw his goal bound header saved by Banks.

Nine minutes remained on the clock when Anthony Riviere broke through but Banks was quickly off his line to save at Riviere’s feet. A minute later Brown’s header from Taggart’s cross was saved by Banks and then Jordan had another shot blocked. Taggart broke through the Lewes rearguard and shot wide with five minutes remaining.

With stoppage time being played Eastleigh sent everybody forward to search for the equaliser and to get the game into extra time, but despite their efforts the goal would not come. An amazing scramble in the stoppage time period saw shots from Gillespie and Taggart scrambled away, Banks produced a fine stop also and the all-important goal was not to be found.


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