Three straight wins on the road


Blue Square South

Report by Ray Murphy

Manager Ian Baird originally named the starting eleven that had won at Staines Town four days earlier, but a calf injury to Richard Gillespie in the warm up saw a late change to the Eastleigh team sheet. With only twenty minutes to go before kick off, Gillespie had to withdraw for Shaun McAuley to replace. This change forced a slight reshuffle to the starting line up with Ross Bottomley moving up to a striker’s role allowing McAuley his position on the right flank and Peter Adeniyi into the centre of midfield. There was also the welcome returns of Tony Taggart and Warren Goodhind to the bench along with Brett Poate who stepped in to replace McAuley in the pre-match shuffle.

The game could not have started better for Eastleigh though looking to gain their third successive away victory following their last home mauling at the hands of Thurrock. Sam Butler’s right wing in-swinging corner was met with a glancing header at the near post by Ross Bottomley to allow the ex-AFC Totton utility player to net his first goal at this level.

Play was evenly matched on a cold evening with neither Jason Matthews in the Eastleigh goal or his opposite number Rikki Banks having too much activity to keep them warm. A low drive from the hosts’ David Wheeler was saved by Matthews on seventeen minutes and ten minutes later Banks was in action to stop a Butler effort. As play picked up a minute later Matthews was off his line to save at the feet of Wheeler.

Lewes were starting to threaten and gained an equaliser on thirty-two minutes. A long clearance from defence by Lewis Hamilton allowed Jean-Michel Sigere to get in front of the Eastleigh central defenders before rolling the ball past them firing past Matthews to see the ball strike the inside of the post before nestling in the back of the net.

Eastleigh took eleven minutes to regain their lead and it was a carbon copy of their first goal just different individuals in the play. Tony Taggart who had replaced Butler sent in a corner from the right flank again and this time Luke Wilkinson was at the near post to glide his header past Banks for the second Eastleigh goal.

The second period was very disjointed with effort and guile from both sides but a lack of attacking flair. The best effort for Eastleigh was a seventy-sixth minute long range Danny Smith effort that was over the bar. For the home side Tim Rivers really should have done better with a free header from a free kick but wide of the target.

As the game entered the final stages, a long range drive eight minutes from time by skipper Anthony Barness struck the underside of the cross bar bouncing down for Rivers who acrobatically could not keep his effort under control and the bar was this time cleared. The final effort of the game came from Jack Walder who saw another long-range effort saved by Matthews.


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