Eastleigh crash out of FA Cup


FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round

Match report by Jamie Montigue

FA Cup EASTLEIGH: Gareth Barfoot, Danny Smith, Andy Forbes, Ian Herring, Tom Jordan (c), Ross Bottomley, Andrew White (Jordace Holder-Spooner 57), Jamie Brown, Jamie Slabber, Richard Gillespie, Graeme Montgomery (Sam Wilson 77). Subs (Not used): Andrew Smallpiece (GK), Billy Tsovolos, Adam Cashin-Murray, Ryan O'Hara, Shaun Wilkinson.

Goals: Eastleigh - Jamie Slabber (66). Oxford City - Steve Basham (19), Darren Pond (61, 68).

Attendance: 325

Eastleigh crashed out of the FA Cup in the 3rd Qualifying Round for the fourth time in six seasons.

Before today’s game, 17-year-old striker Sam Wilson signed a contract in front of the main stand at the Silverlake Stadium with club Secretary Ray Murphy and Chairman Paul Murray. The youngster, who has been attracting interest from Fulham, received a warm round of applause from those in attendance as he put pen to paper. Wilson came on towards the end of the game and had an effort saved by the visiting goalkeeper.

Making just one change to the side defeated 3-0 away last weekend in the league at Eastbourne Borough; Ian Baird replaced Henrik Breimyr with Ian Herring in the starting eleven. The loanee’s parent club Aldershot Town do not want the Norwegian defender/midfielder cup-tied.

Oxford City, who sit just five places below Eastleigh in the non-league pyramid despite being a league below the Spitfires, came into this game full of confidence and in good form. The Evo-Stik Premier Division side sit 2nd in their league behind AFC Totton and won a league game 7-1 last weekend with Steve Basham scoring four.

The visitors started the game fairly brightly with Felipe Barcelos impressing in the early stages. In the 8th minute a powerful run down the right hand side from Oxford’s Declan Benjamin saw the midfielder get into the box and fire narrowly off target from a tight angle.

A minute later, Eastleigh’s first attempt on goal came from a good piece of play from Richard Gillespie who crossed well from the right. Graeme Montgomery got into a good position in the 6-yard box but saw his header saved by Jason Mooney in the Oxford goal, though the flag went up for offside anyway.

In the 13th minute, Danny Smith’s cross from right back picked out Tom Jordan in the centre whose header went wide.

The Eastleigh supporters were in good voice behind the goal getting behind their team, especially in the first half.

Richard Gillespie hit a shot on target with a quarter of an hour played as he found space to turn and shoot, but his low left-foot shot was scooped up by Mooney.

Eastleigh fell behind when STEVE BASHAM opened the scoring in the tie with a neat lofted finish over Gareth Barfoot to find the net with just 19 minutes played. The former Saints forward timed his run to beat the Eastleigh offside trap following a pass over the Spitfires defence in to the box.

Midway through the half, Ian Herring’s long throw found its way to Gillespie, who headed towards goal from close range and forced a good save out of the keeper.

Having fallen a goal behind, Eastleigh looked to hit back with Tom Jordan coming closest with a header that crashed back off the cross bar in the 33rd minute. Both Jamie Slabber and Andy Forbes looked to follow up from the effort in quick succession, but both shots were blocked and cleared from danger. The hosts were so close to an equalising goal from the corner kick, where after Jordan’s header came back off the woodwork, Oxford stood firm to resist the Eastleigh pressure and keep a couple of shots out and clear off the line in quick succession.

In the 36th minute, Darren Pond let fly with a good curling effort that landed narrowly wide of the upright from 25 yard out.

The visitors had the chance to extend their lead four minutes before the break when Andrew White, was somewhat harshly adjudged to have brought down an opponent. For the second FA Cup tie in a row, Gareth Barfoot kept out a spot kick with a tremendous double save. The Eastleigh goalkeeper saved a penalty in the previous round at a critical stage in the game against Cinderford Town, and did the same today to keep out Steve Basham's penalty and save the follow up.

It was another excellent bit of goalkeeping from Barfoot to keep the Spitfires in the game. Had Basham’s spot-kick gone in, it would have been a long way back for Eastleigh.

In the closing stages of the first half, Tom Jordan had a close range effort scrambled away off the goal line by Adam Learoyd, whilst at the opposite end an acrobatic effort from Michael Lyon was well saved by Barfoot.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 0-1 Oxford City

Eastleigh started the second half promisingly for a spell of ten or so minutes where in that time, Richard Gillespie had a header kept out following a cross from Graeme Montgomery and then a positive run forward from Andrew White saw the former Gillingham striker’s shot deflected safely through to Jason Mooney.

With 56 minutes played, Montgomery’s free kick was met by Andy Forbes who sent his free header just wide of goal from 8-yards out.

The Spitfires made their first change of the game with Jordace Holder-Spooner called upon to replace Andrew White.

Seemingly, out of nothing, DARREN POND picked out the top corner with an excellent strike in the 61st minute to double Oxford City's lead. It was a fine strike from all of 25-yards, but it now meant Eastleigh had it all to do to salvage their place in the competition.

Eastleigh responded with Andy Forbes glancing a header inches wide of the post, and then hit back from the penalty spot soon after.

halved the deficit as he despatched a penalty with 66 minutes played. Ian Herring burst into the 18-yard box and was tripped leaving the referee little choice but point to the spot. Up-stepped Slabber, who beat Jason Mooney from 12-yards to find the bottom corner.

Slabber had a header saved in the 68th minute after scoring but just when it looked like Eastleigh might be coming back into the game, Oxford added a third goal to crush the Spitfires’ hopes. DARREN POND was allowed the freedom of the Eastleigh penalty area to head home from a corner kick and all but seal Oxford City’s place in the next round of the FA Cup and claim the £7,500 prize money at the same time.

Declan Benjamin had a chance to add a fourth for the visitors but the good opportunity to do so from close range in the 76th minute. Then, ten minutes from time, substitute Matthew Clark’s bicycle kick had the beating of Barfoot, but Danny Smith got back well to cover his goalkeeper and head against the cross bar to keep the ball out.

Eastleigh had two final chances late in the game when Holder-Spooner’s neat pass into the path of Sam Wilson saw the coveted striker’s low shot saved at the near post.

Jordace Holder-Spooner then had a chance himself when a loose ball inside the Oxford penalty area came back to him, from which he could only fire harmlessly over the cross bar.

Four minutes from time Lee Steele ran clean through on goal and had the chance to embarrass Eastleigh with a fourth goal only to shoot tamely straight at Gareth Barfoot.

It was a disappointing afternoon for the Spitfires, but full credit must go to Oxford City who deserved the win and were the better team on the day.

We must move on and look for a reaction to bounce back, starting with next weekend’s home game in the Blue Square Bet South against Welling United.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 1-3 Oxford City

Oxford City - 151011


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