Eastleigh v Dover - Match Preview

Match preview by Kieran James

Ian Baird’s Spitfires reached the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup after a late penalty at The City Ground on Wednesday.

The Spitfires could only name four subs as Jack Dovey, Daryl McMahon, Philip Appiah, Damian Scannell, Bradley Bubb and Lee Phillips were all ruled out for various reasons.

It took only 14 minutes before captain Tom Jordan suffered a bump to the head. The club later received news that Jordan had concussion which could see him ruled out for the next two games.

Ian Herring, who has recently returned to the squad following a loan move at Chippenham Town, replaced Jordan. Eastleigh were dealt a further injury scare when, seven minutes before the break, centre back Gary Elphick turned his ankle and hobbled of the pitch to be replaced by Jordace Holder-Spooner.

With only five minutes to go, former City winger Chris Flood took the ball round goalkeeper Ryan Gosney only to be taken down in the box. Referee Daniel Cook awarded Eastleigh a penalty and Jamie Slabber stood up confidently and fired the Spitfires in to the Hampshire Senior Cup final with the only goal of the game.

The final will be played at the home of Southampton Football Club at St Mary’s Stadium and is due to played on the 16th May. The Spitfires will try to overcome AFC Totton, who have won the Hampshire Senior Cup twice on the bounce.

This win will certainly give The Spitfires some confidence after disappointing performances in the league lately. Eastleigh now play Dover Athletic tomorrow in the Blue Square Bet South at the Silverlake Stadium (3pm kick off).

The Spitfires have lost some ground towards the play off push in recent weeks. They now sit in eighth place, twelve points behind Chelmsford City (who currently occupy the final play-off spot).

Sixth placed Dover sit only six points behind fifth place but are not in the best of form after drawing their last two games in the league. The Whites salvaged a point on Tuesday after being 2-0 down away to Hampton & Richmond Borough.

The last time these two teams played was at the Crabble Stadium and it was one to forget for the Spitfires.

A brace from George Purcell including a tap in from close range and a low shot past goalkeeper Jack Dovey after a defensive error was enough to send Easleigh home empty-handed.

The last time these two teams met at the Silverlake Stadium was just over a year ago and the deficit was the same as it was this season.

Barry Cogan ran through the defence and finished with ease past Gareth Barfoot after just two minutes, and now League One Gillingham striker Adam Birchall finished the Spitfires off in the dying minutes with a rebounded shot.

Going into this game, Eastleigh fans were worried whether striker Jamie Slabber will be in the squad after last years top scorer with 25 goals was in talks with fellow Blue Square Bet South club Chelmsford City.

BBC Radio Solent reported on Twitter yesterday: “Eastleigh striker Jamie Slabber in talks with fellow Conference South side Chelmsford City over possible transfer.”

However today BBC Radio Solent confirmed that the deal was off with a tweet saying: "Jamie Slabber’s move from @eastleighfc to Chelmsford City is off after the clubs could not agree a fee”.

This is good news for Eastleigh fans who received some more good news following the announcement of Slabber staying at the club. Former Havant and Waterlooville striker Lee Peacock, who was recently released by Eastleigh’s rivals, has signed for the club. A press release was announced on the official website today.

This is going to be a great game to watch so come down to the Silverlake Stadium and roar on those Spitfires!

COME ON YOU SPITFIRES!

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