Staforde double sees Spitfires win at Banbury


Pre-Season Friendly

Report by Ray Murphy

Eastleigh took on the next stage of their pre-season warm up programme with a trip to Zamaretto Southern League side Banbury United. Banbury had finished season 2009/10 in a mid table position just one place below the big spending Truro City.

Manager Ian Baird took the opportunity to give a start to Toby Osman a right-sided midfield player who has previously been with Clevedon Town, Salisbury City, Exeter City and Birmingham City. The nineteen-year-old being the son of ex-Southampton defender Russell Osman.

Gareth Barfoot retained the goalkeeper’s jersey whilst Danny Smith took over at right back with Warren Goodhind switching to the left flank. Chris Holland and Tom Jordan taking the central defensive roles. With Osman wide on the right, Richard Graham patrolled the left flank whilst Jamie Brown returned to the midfield alongside Ross Bottomley. Jamie Slabber and Staforde Palmer started in the striker’s roles.

Eastleigh started in the ascendancy and forced four early corners but never tested Banbury goalkeeper Joe Murrell. It was completely against the run of play when Eastleigh fell behind on eleven minutes. David Staff’s cross from the left arrived at the feet of Joe Coleman at the edge of the box who curled a shot beyond Barfoot and into the net.

It was still though Eastleigh that controlled the majority of the game. Jordan saw a header from Graham's corner just clear the bar on quarter of an hour but Eastleigh did equalise four minutes later. The ever-improving Palmer collected the ball just outside the area, side-stepped a defender before firing a low drive into the corner of the net.

On the half hour Bottomley’s goalbound header from another Graham corner was cleared off the line by Ollie Stanbridge. Ten minutes later Graham's measured pass through the centre of the Banbury defence saw Palmer in on goal but his stabbed shot over the advancing Murrell was just wide of the post.

Banbury had a chance just before the break, Ross Oulton watching his thirty-yard strike fly just past Barfoot's left hand post.

This was an entertaining pre-season fixture, which was not overly disrupted by a series of second half substitutions. Brown's header from a Graham corner five minutes into the second period was just wide before Eastleigh scored what proved to be the deciding goal on fifty-four minutes. And what an excellently worked goal it was. Slabber's neat little pass into Graham saw the nippy little winger tease a defender waiting for support to arrive in the box for him. Graham then neatly rolled the ball across the face of the Banbury defence where Slabber unselfishly allowed the ball to run for Palmer to fire home his second goal of the afternoon.

Bottomley set up Palmer on sixty-one minutes but the striker was unable to net his hat trick. A minute later Banbury had an attempt at the opposite end when substitute Scott Cross fired wide. Play switched immediately to the other end where Eastleigh substitute Richard Gillespie and Graham combined before Graham slid a shot across the face of goal. A flurry of goalmouth action at both ends ended with Barfoot punching high from a ball into the area but then had to regain his composure to pull off a fine save from Marvin Martin's effort from the loose ball.

Slabber headed just wide with eleven minutes remaining, then as the game petered out the home side had two chances to gain themselves an equaliser.  Staff fired a shot wide of the target on eighty-one minutes then Adam Learoyd looped a header just over the bar with four minutes remaining.

Banbury - 310710


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