In-form Eastleigh on the up


Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

On Guy Fawkes Night, there were fireworks on the pitch at the Silverlake Stadium as Eastleigh put in another sparkling display to secure back-to-back wins.

Ian Baird's side have won three of their last four games having seen off Welling comfortably last time out at home and then beating Thurrock away last weekend, (with a defeat at Chelmsford in between).

The in-form Spitfires hit Maidenhead with three first half goals to do much of the damage and go into half time with a resounding lead.

Eastleigh made two changes to the starting eleven. Danny Smith came in for the suspended Jamie Brown and the clubs latest loan signing - Chris Flood from Dorchester Town, took the place of Richard Gillespie who dropped out of the 16 due to a slight niggle.

Jack Dovey made a winning start to his loan spell with the Spitfires at Thurrock last Saturday in the 3-1 victory, where he also saved a penalty. The promising young goalkeeper on loan from Southampton maintained his place in goal at the expense of Gareth Barfoot.

Across the back four, Ian Herring played at right back with Tom Jordan and Andy Forbes forming the central defensive partnership and Michael Green continuing at left back.

Flood came straight into the side and lined up on the left of a midfield four with left-footed Graeme Montgomery on the opposite flank. Smith and Bottomley played in the middle of the park with Jamie Slabber and Andrew White leading the line.

The game began with Eastleigh threatening from the first whistle. Flood was looking to make an instant impression and caused problems as early as the fourth minute when his cross from the left saw Leon Soloman nearly put the ball in his own net. Sam Beasant, son of Dave Beasant who was in attendance with former England manager Glenn Hoddle and Graham Rix this afternoon, had to make the save to prevent an own goal.

Minutes later, Eastleigh were on the attack again with Flood running down the left and picking out a pass to find Danny Smith whose low shot was blocked. The ball came back out to Smith who teed the ball up for Ross Bottomley, who in turn could only shoot high over the target.

JAMIE SLABBER opened the scoring in the tenth minute after a free kick from the left was nodded down by captain Tom Jordan. Slabber, on the back of two goals at Thurrock, brought the ball under control superbly before showing good composure to beat the keeper from close range.

Eastleigh continued to dominate and twelve minutes later, GRAEME MONTGOMERY rounded off a sweeping move from the hosts to find the back of the net. The move started right from the back where Michael Green played the ball forward to Andrew White who came inside and spread the ball out to the right for Ian Herring. Herring’s cross to the back post found Montgomery, where the Aldershot loanee midfielder caught the ball sweetly on the volley to beat Beasant in the Maidenhead goal.

Montgomery had another chance soon after scoring following good work from White, who led the line well with plenty of running and effort, but this time Monty couldn’t direct his shot, which lacked power.

It wasn’t until the 25th minute that the visitors had their first sight at goal. Anthony Thomas found himself in acres of space just six yards from goal, but failed to trouble Dovey with a wayward effort. Three minutes later Thomas managed to work the keeper, this time with a curling effort from the edge of the area following link up play with Ashan Holgate. Dovey was equal to the attempt with a diving save to his left.

Eastleigh came close when Montgomery had a strike at goal from range with a speculative effort that was worth a try and not too far wide. Meanwhile at the opposite end, ex-Havant & Waterlooville forward Manny Williams dragged an effort wide after Holgate had chested the ball down into his path.

The hosts looked to work an opening when neat build up play saw Herring and Slabber exchange passes before the latter slipped a ball in behind the Maidenhead defence. Andrew White broke the offside trap and looked set to latch on to the through ball but was denied by smart goalkeeping from Beasant, who was alert to the danger and off his line quickly to get to the ball first.

Rampant Eastleigh fired home a third goal nine minutes before the break. Goalkeeper Jack Dovey sent a free kick into the penalty area where debutant Chris Flood crashed a header against the woodwork. JAMIE SLABBER was on hand to clinically fire home the rebound for his second and Eastleigh's third of the afternoon. It was the leading scorer's fourth goal in two games and his seventh league goal of the season.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 3-0 Maidenhead

After a convincing first half display, the second half was a little scrappier and Maidenhead started well. DANIEL BROWN hit an unstoppable left foot shot from a good 30-yards to pick out the top corner and peg a goal back for the visitors in the 53rd minute.

Prior to the goal, Johnson Hippolyte’s side forced Jack Dovey into a save from a powerfully struck Anthony Thomas free kick.

Dovey was at full stretch moments later, having to change direction to keep out former Spitfire Ashan Holgate’s inventive flicked shot to make an excellent save. The game then went a little flat for a period with little or no opportunities for either side, but it was Eastleigh who finished strongly.

In the 84th minute, substitute Jordace Holder-Spooner went on an excellent run down the left to skip past two challenges and cross for Graeme Montgomery, whose header came back off the bar.

CHRIS FLOOD put the seal on a good display on his first game back at the club to complete the scoring in the 90th minute. Montgomery was involved in the build up and Flood, a versatile midfielder/forward on loan from Dorchester Town, found the bottom right hand corner with a neat finish to slot home.

The win sees Eastleigh move up four places in the table to 14th.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 4-1 Maidenhead
Maidenhead - 051111


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