Farnborough 1-3 Eastleigh


Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Ray Murphy

Eastleigh made it three consecutive league victories for the first time this season with a deserved win at Farnborough. Manager Ian Baird named an unchanged side from the one that had defeated Maidenhead United seven days earlier, the only change being on the bench where Jamie Brown returned after being suspended the previous game.

Farnborough themselves were on a torrid run of form having not won in their last eight league fixtures though they made only one change from their previous outing, a 1-3 home defeat by Chelmsford City, with striker Alex Woodyard having returned from suspension.

The game started slowly though Eastleigh had the first chance on ten minutes. Graeme Montgomery’s free kick into the path of Jamie Slabber saw the home goalkeeper Nikodin Matic produce an excellent stop to deny the Eastleigh leading goalscorer, the ball falling for Chris Flood but another Farnborough defender was able to block that effort.

There was very little goalmouth action until Eastleigh took a merited lead on seventeen minutes. When following another Montgomery free kick, Tom Jordan headed the ball onto Slabber who laid the ball into the on running Danny Smith. Smith saw his shot blocked by defender Jack Holland, Flood picked up the loose ball only to be denied by a Matic stop but Andrew White was on hand to fire a shot past Matic despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.

Montgomery sent a cross into the box on twenty minutes which Slabber produced a half volley just off target. Eastleigh pushed for a second goal and yet another chance went begging on thirty-two minutes after Ian Herring's long throw saw Jordan flick the ball on but White headed wide. Five minutes later Flood headed a Herring cross over the bar.

Farnborough started the second period the brighter of the two sides though White had an early chance with a shot from the edge of the box that Matic saved. On fifty-two minutes there was a controversial decision from referee Carl Brook, which might have changed the game completely. Flood picked up the ball on the left flank and ran at the Farnborough defence. Flood skipped his way past three defensive challenges before being brought to the ground from a tackle by Nathan Webb in the penalty area. Referee Brook was in a perfect position and to the astonishment of the majority in the 471 crowd, no penalty was awarded - the referee adamant that Webb had made contact with the ball.

On fifty-six minutes that penalty shout turned down seemed to have cost Eastleigh dear as Farnborough scored an equaliser. Former Southampton striker Tony Garrod sent a cross from the left wing to the far post where Reece Connolly arrived to turn home to put Farnborough level.

The goal gave Farnborough the ascendancy for a few minutes, and on the hour Garrod raced onto a through ball from Ashley Winn but Jack Dovey was equal to his former Southampton team mates attempt. There was then a flurry of chances; White saw another effort saved by Matic after good work from Montgomery, followed by Flood curling a shot just wide of the target.

Tom Jordan had to leave the action with a dead leg on sixty-nine minutes along with White being replaced by Brown and Sam Wilson, with Bottomley reverting to centre back to allow Brown into his midfield role. Two minutes later Brown's pass in behind the defence saw Flood bearing in on goal where he slipped the ball past the advancing Matic but also watched the shot skip past the wrong side of the upright.

Farnborough had an excellent chance on seventy-two minutes with a cross from Webb met by Connolly inside the six-yard area but again the header was off target. With seventy-four minutes played Eastleigh restored their lead. Herring floated a free kick into the Farnborough penalty area, which Matic came a long way off his line to collect. The keeper failed to catch the ball and the ball bounced around the edge of the area where the quick thinking Andy Forbes with his back to goal swivelled to loft a left foot shot over a crowd of players into the back of the net for his first league goal of the season.

Eastleigh wrapped the game up on seventy-nine minutes. Michael Green's cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Slabber and Brown had the easiest of tasks to slot the ball into an empty net. 
Farnborough - 121111


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