Yaku denies Spitfires away win


Blue Square Bet South

Report by Ray Murphy

A goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time prevented Eastleigh from claiming their first ever victory at Hampton & Richmond Borough at the fifth time of asking. It was a sickening blow for the Eastleigh side that had deserved their victory.

Danny Smith was missing from the line up with a bout of flu whilst Jamie Brown was also unavailable owing to injury. Ross Bottomley got the call to replace Smith with a midfield role alongside Anthony Riviere from which Bottomley produced a man of the match performance.

The game started well and Eastleigh should have been ahead inside twenty seconds. Bottomley’s pass into the path of Tony Taggart saw the winger have his shot saved by 19-year-old goalkeeper Joe Talbot, who was making his home debut. It was Eastleigh who kept the ascendancy for the majority of the first half.

On thirteen minutes Richard Graham cut inside his full back but his effort was saved by the feet of Talbot. A minute later Anthony Riviere saw his effort saved by the keeper too. On eighteen minutes Taggart's pass set Richard Gillespie free, From a wide position just inside the area Gillespie turned the ball back past Talbot and across the face of goal but there was nobody close to apply a finishing touch.

With twenty-five minutes played James Simmonds was dispossessed in the middle of the park allowing Taggart to play Gillespie through again, this time Gillespie ran through and slipped the ball past Talbot having come off his line but the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the upright.

A minute later and the home side had their first chance of the evening; though Leon Yarnies tame attempt did not trouble Jason Matthews. On twenty-nine minutes and again for the home side Ian Hodges headed a Lloyd Boateng free kick wide of the target.

On thirty-one minutes Graham’s corner allowed Bottomley to help the ball on and Chris Holland saw a shot blocked then despite the Eastleigh domination they fell behind on thirty-two minutes. A free kick some twenty-five yards from goal was flighted to the far post where central defender David Stevens rose to head home his first goal for the club.

Eastleigh tried to retrieve immediately. On thirty-five minutes Holland headed Warren Goodhind’s free kick wide with Talbot stranded but Eastleigh left the pitch at half time a goal down.

The home side were forced into a change early in the second period when seasoned striker Lawrence Yaku entered the fray for the injured Hodges. Ten minutes into the half though Eastleigh scored their equaliser. Bottomley with his ‘never say die’ attitude fought for the ball on the edge of the box, the ball finally breaking free into Graham allowing the nippy winger to glide a left foot strike low past Talbot.

Two minutes later and Eastleigh were ahead, which they thoroughly deserved. Taggart's corner eventually arrived at the far post where Bottomley turned the ball home for his first goal of the season.

The game then became a more tense affair as Eastleigh tried to consolidate their lead. On sixty-one minutes a Hampton attack saw Yarnie play the ball into Simmonds who ran on taking the ball wide past Jason Matthews but the covering Holland cleared the danger for Eastleigh.

Four minutes later a Graham volley was pushed wide by Talbot, the keeper not being helped by a deflection off his defender. Chances then became limited. With ten minutes remaining Eastleigh should have made the game safe. Talbot and his left back Craig Tanner were involved in a defensive mix up which allowed Taggart in on goal. Dean Inman cleared Taggart’s first shot off the line the ball arriving back at the feet of Taggart who readjusted himself to guide another shot goalward only to be denied by another goal line clearance by Stevens.

The game was drifting away to an end when after making a late substitution Eastleigh were dealt a cruel blow. In the fourth minute of stoppage time Matthews’ free kick fell mid way in to the Hampton half of the pitch. Simmonds collected the ball and lofted a pass over the heads of the Eastleigh rearguard and straight into the path of the surging Yaku. Yaku lifted the ball over Matthews and watched the ball bounce into the back of the net before setting off on a somersault run to celebrate the equaliser. Eastleigh literally just had enough time to restart the game before referee Paul Forrester blew for full time.
Hampton & Richmond Borough - 091110


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