Eastleigh v Tonbridge Angels - Match Preview

Match preview by Kieran James

Ian Baird’s Spitfires will take on 12th placed Tonbridge Angels today in the Blue Square Bet South at The Silverlake Stadium, (3pm kick off) where they will be looking to go eleven home league games unbeaten.

The Spitfires will be in very good spirit going into this game after a 3-2 win against local rivals Havant & Waterlooville on Tuesday night.

Eastleigh got off to the best possible start when Daryl McMahon twisted and turned and put in a dangerous cross in the box, however the former West Ham midfielder couldn’t believe his luck when the cross took a bobble and flew in to the back of the net over goalkeeper Lyall Beasely.

The football was flowing and Jamie Slabber had his shot blocked after Bradley Bubb played a fantastic back heel to Eastleigh’s top goalscorer this season.

It took forty minutes for Eastleigh’s lead to be doubled and it was former Eastleigh centre back Chris Holland who helped create the goal. Holland played a weak pass back to the keeper only for the fast approaching Bradley Bubb to take it round goalkeeper Beasely and lay it off to Scannell who did well to curl a shot past goal-line defender Jake Newton.

The lead was soon halved four minutes later after a dangerous set piece from a corner found Sam Pearce who’s shot deflected off former Havant & Waterlooville centre back and Eastleigh captain Tom Jordan which gave on loan Southampton keeper Jack Dovey no chance.

After a few chances not going The Hawks' way, Eastleigh then pounced on the counter attack with a fine worked goal. Second half substitute Jamie Brown found Damien Scannell who returned the favour to Bradley Bubb who toe poked it through Lyall Beasely's legs to regain Eastleigh's two goal advantage.

One minute from time, Sam Pearce bagged a brace for the visitors having taken the ball past the oncoming Dovey and passing into an empty net from a tight angle, however it wasn’t enough for the Hawks as the Spitfires went ten league home games in a row unbeaten.

Tomorrow's visitors, newly-promoted Ryman Premier League play off winners Tonbridge Angels, haven’t played a game in twenty days however their last match was at The Longmead Stadium where their five-star performance gave visitors Eastbourne Borough day to forget.

From the kick-off Tonbridge lofted a high ball forward. Defender Ben Austin and Nigerian striker Ade Olorunda clashed heads in a challenge to win the ball and fell to the ground.

The loose ball fell nicely to Tonbridge striker Fran Collin who took one touch before drilling it past Eastbourne keeper Clark Masters into the bottom corner after fourteen seconds.

Against the run of play, ten minutes after the opening goal, the Angels struck again this time from a diagonal ball that found midfielder Chris Piper who did fantastically to double Tonbridge’s lead with an 18-yard volley.

Matt Crabb got one back for the visitors after he met Ollie Rowe’s cross and made no mistake with the finish. Just as it looked like Eastbourne would get an equaliser, Carl Rook fouled keeper Lee Worgan and earned a straight red card even with a yellow to his name in the game already.

Eastbourne's hopes of a come-back were undone just 34 seconds into the second half. Their first attack broke down and former Eastbourne forward Joe Benjamin swept to the other end and found Collin who smashed home his second of the game.

Keeper Clark Masters missed the ball from an incoming corner and caught a Tonbridge player, this lead to a penalty and a sending off and who else but Fran Collin went up to take the penalty and conver past substitute Matt Smart to extend Tonbridge’s lead to three goals.

Fran Collin claimed his fourth goal of the game but this time he didn’t know much about it. A shot came his way and deflected into the net past goalkeeper Matt Smart and proved to be his 19th goal in the league making him the top goalscorer in the league by three goals and helped claim all three points for the Angels.

The last time these two teams met was a day to forget for the Spitfires at The Longmead Stadium. Goals from Jake Beecroft, Lee Browning and a brace from Fran Collin secured all three points on a day where Jamie Brown and at the time on-loan Reading defender Frankie Raymond both got sent off.

This was Eastleigh’s third game of the season and their third loss of the season, however only four players from this game will remain in the starting line up for a much changed and much improved Eastleigh.

Come on you Spitfires!

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