Slabber hat trick helps Spitfires to emphatic away win


Blue Square Bet South

Report by Ray Murphy 

Eastleigh wiped away memories of their opening day defeat against Bishops Stortford by comfortably earning a victory at Dorchester Town managed by former Spitfire Ashley Vickers. Manager Ian Baird kept with the side that had competed in the opening game with the exception of Brett Williams replacing Staforde Palmer and taking a striker's role, with Richard Gillespie dropping to the right hand side of the midfield quartet. Ex-Eastleigh players Matt Groves and Jamie Gleeson were in the Dorchester starting eleven with Stuart Douglas on the substitutes bench.

Eastleigh attacked from the outset and Jamie Slabber was unfortunate to see his second minute shot saved by home goalkeeper Regan Coward, who also managed to recover to stop the rebound attempt from Gillespie. Dorchester replied two minutes later but Nick Crittenden could only drag his shot across the face of goal.

Jason Matthews was quickly off his line on fifteen minutes to make a save at the feet of Ryan Moss before Eastleigh deservedly took the lead three minutes later. Will Hendry picked up the ball just outside his own penalty area before striding forward some fifty metres before slipping the ball into the path of Slabber who coolly slotted the ball past the advancing Coward for the opening goal.

Moss shot over the bar when well placed on twenty-three minutes and Matthews was forced to make another save from Groves on thirty-one minutes, but it was Eastleigh to net again a minute further on. It was arguably man of the match Williams a major creator in the goal. Williams harassed Dorchester defender Kevin Hill and took possession of the ball. Racing into the penalty area Williams stopped to draw Coward towards him before he unselfishly slipped the ball to his left to allow the unmarked Slabber to roll the ball into an empty net, Slabber the first to show his appreciation to Williams for his assist.

Kyle Critchell headed a chance wide of the target with three minutes remaining before the interval but Eastleigh left the field at half time full value for their two-goal lead.

Dorchester took the field for the second period with three substitutions. One of the trio James Coutts produced a weak shot into the path of Matthews five minutes after the restart but it was soon back to Eastleigh in the ascendancy. On fifty-three minutes, Richard Graham's left-wing cross beyond the far post saw Gillespie head the ball back into the middle where Slabber was on hand to stoop to head home his third goal of the evening.

A minute later a Brett Williams overhead kick was just off target but Eastleigh were in a commanding position. A fourth goal arrived on sixty-four minutes. Graham's corner from the right was powered home at the far post by the head of Chris Holland for his first goal for the Club.

Matthews produced an excellent double stop on sixty-six minutes first denying Mark Jermyn and then Moss as Dorchester searched for a way back into the game. Holland saw another header from a Graham corner deflected over the bar by an Eastleigh striker as Eastleigh almost added another goal to their tally.

Ryan Hill fired a free kick over the bar for the home side but Matthews remained untroubled for the latter stages of the game. The only downside for the Eastleigh evening was watching Palmer leaving the pitch before the game was finished after a heavy challenge and fear that the striker may have suffered another lengthy injury lay off.

Dorchester v EFC - 170810


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