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10-man Eastleigh fight back

EASTLEIGH 2-2 DARTFORD
SATURDAY 19th NOVEMBER 2011

Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

EASTLEIGH - Jack Dovey, Andy Forbes (Jordace Holder-Spooner 83), Michael Green, Ian Herring, Tom Jordan (c), Ross Bottomley, Andrew White (Jamie Brown 32), Danny Smith, Jamie Slabber, Chris Flood (Richard Gillespie 64), Graeme Montgomery. Subs (not used): Gareth Barfoot, Sam Wilson.

Goals: Eastleigh - Danny Smith (42), Tom Jordan (53). Dartford - Adam Green (26 penalty), Jon Wallis (36).

Attendance
- 604

Ten-man Eastleigh came from two goals behind to fight back in heroic fashion to claim an excellent point at home to Dartford this afternoon.

Andrew White had the best of the early opportunities inside the opening half an hour. The Spitfires threatened first in the 6th minute when Jack Dovey's long ball forward saw Jamie Slabber cushion a header into the path of White, who in turn dragged his shot wide of the post.

In the 24th minute, Danny Smith threaded a pass through to White who this time was denied by Louis Wells in the Dartford goal. The visiting goalkeeper stood tall to keep the scores level.

Eastleigh were unfortunate to concede a penalty midway through the half when Lee Noble's shot was blocked by Jamie Slabber. The referee adjudged the ball to have struck the arm of the Eastleigh forward, but the decision seemed harsh to say the least.

The awarded penalty allowed Dartford to take a 26th minute lead as ADAM GREEN struck from the spot to send Dovey the wrong way and find the net.

Things went from bad to worse for the Spitfires shortly after conceding. Ian Herring picked up a second yellow card and therefore a red leaving Eastleigh with a huge task on their hands to recover with ten men.

Dartford doubled their advantage in the 36th minute when JON WALLIS drilled a low shot through a crowded penalty area to find the bottom corner.

With the penalty, red card and a second goal all conspiring against Eastleigh - massive credit must be given to the players and management team for fighting back valiantly.

DANNY SMITH gave the Spitfires a glimmer of hope when he pulled a goal back just before half time. Smith, who was later named the sponsors man of the match, made a good run into the box to fire a powerful shot home from close range following a dangerous long throw into the penalty area by Graeme Montgomery.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 1-2 Dartford

Ian Baird's side made a promising start to the second half with Chris Flood seeing an effort just wide of goal and also having another shot blocked.

In the 53rd minute, the battling Eastleigh fought back to find an equalising goal. Captain TOM JORDAN  rose highest in the box to meet Danny Smith's cross from the right and find the top corner.

After making such a strong recovery to change the game, Eastleigh's team spirit and work ethic shone through for all to see to make sure they came away from the game with at least a point; when in the first half it seemed so unlikely.

The fact that Eastleigh had the handicap of playing with one less player made the performance and result all the more pleasing. At times during the second half, it was hard to tell that the Spitfires were the side with ten men as they controlled the game in spells and defended superbly.

Graeme Montgomery had a shot tipped around the post in the 88th minute, before substitute Ryan Hayes squandered Dartford's best chance late in the game after heading wide from former Eastleigh winger Richard Graham's cross.

In the closing stages, Dartford tried to break the Eastleigh rearguard down but came up against a brick wall as the Eastleigh defence stood firm and coped well with all that was thrown at them to hold on to an excellent point.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 2-2 Dartford

Dartford - 191111

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