Clevedon 0-5 Eastleigh



FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round

Report by Ray Murphy

These two Clubs have now met twice in their history, both times in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, the last time in 2007, but on both occasions Eastleigh have netted five goals without reply.

Following their defeat the previous Saturday at home to Basingstoke, Eastleigh manager Ian Baird made some changes to the side with Jason Matthews returning in goal at the expense of Gareth Barfoot, Luke Byles returned from illness which meant Ross Bottomley lost his place in the starting eleven whilst Danny Smith returned from suspension therefore Will Hendry dropped to a substitutes role. Richard Gillespie passed a late fitness test.

The game started with a melee inside the opening minute. Only ten seconds had been played when Smith collected the ball in the middle of the park and was then the subject of a robust challenge that saw a heated exchange between several of the players; even before either side had a chance to mount an attack. The referee Mr K Morris from Hereford saw no need to take any further action than talk to a couple of players.

Eastleigh then camped inside the Clevedon half for the opening ten minutes forcing their Zamaretto League South & West Division opponents to defend stoutly. Richard Graham was causing all sorts of concerns for the Clevedon full back Lewis Ellis with a constant raid on the left hand side.

On five minutes, Jamie Slabber headed a Graham free kick just wide of the target then two minutes later Tony Taggart’s left foot drive was also just off target. On nine minutes yet another Graham cross saw Gillespie head just wide.

After the early domination Clevedon then had an excellent opportunity on eleven minutes. Taggart was dispossessed on the right flank by Matt Townley who then slipped the ball into the path of George Brimson who fired a low shot past ex-Clevedon goalkeeper Matthews but into the side netting. Four minutes later Matthews was quickly off his line to take the ball off the feet of Brimson.

Eastleigh deservedly took the lead on twenty minutes. Ellis failing to cut out a cross-field Anthony Riviere pass, allowed Graham to take the ball in his stride before cutting inside and firing a low shot down past Clevedon goalkeeper Sam Burgess into the net.

Six minutes later and Eastleigh had a two-goal cushion. Taggart’s cross was half-cleared by the Clevedon defence, the ball arriving at Smith some twenty-five yards from goal. Smith’s shot took a wicked deflection off a Clevedon defender wrong-footing Burgess and ending up in the back of his net.

Eastleigh, who had always been in total command, now looked as though they would notch a hatful of goals for the afternoon. Two minutes following the second goal Gillespie holding the ball up laid it off to Graham who attacked his defender again brushed aside his challenge before drifting round the advancing Burgess and slipping the ball goal-wards but recovering defender Steve Kingdon cleared the ball off the line.

On the half hour Chas Hemmings headed an Ellis cross wide whilst tricky midfield/striker Adam Mahdi was starting to be given some time on the ball but failed really to penetrate the Eastleigh defence. On thirty-five minutes a delicately chipped pass from Lloyd Mills allowed Hemmings a run on goal but the striker screwed his shot wide of the target.

With thirty-seven minutes played, Slabber spurned another Eastleigh chance shooting wide after being set up by Graham. Three minutes later Matthews' long clearance was chased by the ever running Gillespie, the ball then ran loose for Slabber to cushion a header over the advancing Burgess but the keeper managed to recover to stop the ball crossing the line. Forty-one minutes had been played when Taggart’s pass allowed Gillespie a chance but his shot was palmed away by Burgess and Slabber was unable to turn home the rebound.

The home side had a couple of chances as the half eased to a close, first skipper Kingdon shot wide when well placed then Townley set up Mahdi but Matthews was equal to his attempt.

The game was over as a contest on fifty-three minutes. Slabber’s exquisite back flick allowed Riviere to force his way through the Clevedon rearguard then slipped the ball round the advancing Burgess who caught the midfielder with his challenge, the ball rolling free allowing Gillespie to fire the ball home for Eastleigh’s third goal.

Eight minutes later Slabber was on hand to head home Graham's cross to give Eastleigh a four-goal advantage and it really was a matter of how many Eastleigh would score.

Slabber headed another Graham delivery wide on sixty-seven minutes but the last Eastleigh goal arrived on seventy-five minutes. Riviere's through ball allowed substitute Brett Williams to tuck away the fifth.

The closest Eastleigh came to adding to the score again was in the final minute. Chris Holland’s powerful header from Taggart’s cross was touched by the finger tips of Burgess to divert the ball over the bar.


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