Eastleigh v Weymouth


Blue Square South

Report by Jamie Montigue

Text commentary can be found on our twitter page, describing all the action as it unfolded.

Eastleigh romped to a comfortable 4-0 win over Jerry Gill's Weymouth this Tuesday evening and climb the table to 7th place in the Blue Square South. We are now just four points behind  Woking who are second, and two points outside the playoffs with a game in hand on 5th placed Thurrock, who occupy the fourth play off spot.

Ian Baird was looking for his side to react in a positive manner following Saturday's derby defeat to Havant & Waterlooville.  The hosts gave their manager the best response possible with a confident display to see off second from bottom Weymouth.

Two goals inside seven blistering minutes saw Richard Gillespie fire the Spitfires into a glorious early lead.

The striker's first goal of the night came with just three minutes on the clock. A hopeful kick up the park by goalkeeper Jason Matthews saw the former Bashley hotshot GILLESPIE, get the better of his marker before nodding the ball over the on-rushing Ryan Harrison. Gillespie kept his cool and having rounded the goalkeeper, slid the ball home from an acute angle.

Just four minutes later, a GILLESPIE-inspired Eastleigh were at it again. Having notched up his tenth goal of the season (league and cup) with the opener, the goal scorer wasted little time in adding both his and the Spitfires second with a downward header that beat the keeper. Shaun McAuley was the architect for this goal with excellent wing play and a pinpoint cross from the right.

Eastleigh continued to enjoy their dominance with Danny Smith coming close in the 12th minute shortly followed by a volley from Andy Forbes that had to be watched carefully by the visiting goalkeeper.

The Spitfires who were already without the injured Jamie Brown, who watched on from the stands with crutches along with the sidelined Brett Poate; lost another key player tonight as Andy Forbes limped out of the action prematurely midway through the half.

His replacement, Anthony Riviere made a strong impression as he grasped a good hold of the midfield allowing Shaun McAuley to push further forward in attack and Peter Adeniyi out to the right wing.

Tony Taggart cranked up the pressure as Eastleigh went in search of a third goal. The tricky winger's in-swinging corner was headed off the line by Martin Slocombe but came back out to Taggart once more, who wasted little time in putting the ball back into the danger zone. His dangerous cross was punched away unconvincingly by Harrison for a further corner kick, and from it, the Spitfires took a further step to showing their superiority.

TOM JORDAN made his presence felt in the 6-yard box as he rose to meet McAuley's enticing corner and nod home goal number three in the 29th minute.

The visitors were kept at bay for large periods of the game but when they were eventually given a sniff of goal, they couldn't take advantage of their opportunities. Ben Farrell had the best chance of the half for Weymouth as he found himself behind the Eastleigh defence only to be denied by a terrific stop by Jason Matthews. Jake Reid was kept out by Riviere's crucial goal line clearance moments later before Farrell blazed high and wide when well placed.

Eastleigh ended the half the better side with a fine 'goal' by Riviere being ruled out by the referee's whistle after the tireless midfielder had played a one-two with Taggart and let fly with a strike that flew in off the post.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 3-0 Weymouth

After a very productive first forty-five minutes, the game was virtually won with a convincing three goal cushion at the break. The Spitfires to their credit were highly professional by avoiding complacency and managing to build on their score by adding a fourth.

Shaun McAuley's superb solo run at the heart of the Weymouth defence just two minutes after the break saw the Eastleigh winger rip through the rearguard to create a shooting opportunity but couldn't find the finish to match his excellent approach play.

On the hour mark, towering centre half and captain marvel TOM JORDAN continued to lead by example. Not only did the Eastleigh skipper keep the goals out by helping his side to a clean sheet, Jordan popped up with his second goal of the evening to make it 4-0 with another header, this time from a Taggart corner.

Danny Smith had a half chance with a volley just inside the area that was well saved by Morris before Ian Baird decided to take the opportunity to blood a couple of youngsters.

Reserve striker Darren Morris was handed his first team debut as he came on to replace two-goal hero Gillespie in the 65th minute. Young midfielder Josh Webb soon followed suit by making his first appearance for the club at the Silverlake Stadium.

The pair both did well with Morris' showing a lot of passion and commitment leading the line with a never-say-die attitude and Webb coming close to a dream goal to celebrate his debut eight minutes from time when Adeniyi's pass was dummied by Taggart leaving the substitute room to curl an effort towards the bottom corner. Harrison kept the shot out before having to be on his guard to keep out Steve Cook's header from point blank range.

As the game came to a close, Weymouth's Stephen Reed looked to grab his side a consolation goal but his well driven, left-footed strike was met by a top-drawer save from Jason Matthews who got down well to make a diving save to his right.

It was to be Eastleigh's night as they went on to secure a massive three points. This could be the turning point in our season as suddenly the playoffs are well within reach once again. Eastleigh's 100% record against the Terras and nine goals over the two league games this season against tonight's visitors came about from a highly, impressive display. Job well done!

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 4-0 Weymouth

Ian Baird post match interview - Courtesy of Joss Kingsley, Radio Spitfire:



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