Eastleigh 1-1 Chelmsford City

EASTLEIGH 1-1 CHELMSFORD CITY
SATURDAY 21st APRIL 2012

Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

Eastleigh's final home game of the season saw the points shared in a 1-1 draw with Chelmsford. Both goals were scored late in the game as David Rainford converted a penalty in the 88th minute to cancel out Andy Forbes' header seven minutes from time.

Three changes were made to the starting eleven from the side that defeated Welling United 1-0 last weekend. Gary Elphick, Lee Peacock and Bradley Bubb replaced Will Aimson, Jamie Brown, and Sam Wilson as the Spitfires sought to go a third game unbeaten.

The best of the first half action saw a strong turn and run from Bradley Bubb in the 5th minute force an early save out of the visiting goalkeeper Stuart Searle. The on-loan striker's effort was struck well and had to be turned away for a corner.

Ian Baird's side continued to pressure Chelmsford in the opening stages with Michael Green a potent threat down the left hand side, where he forced a couple of corners for the hosts. The Spitfires were operating with a flexible 5-3-2 formation that changed to a 3-5-2 system when attacking. Green and Mitchell Nelson were employed as wing-backs with Andy Forbes, Tom Jordan and Gary Elphick completing a solid defensive trio.

From one set piece, a dangerous delivery into the penalty area from Daryl McMahon caused panic in the visiting defence momentarily before the referee spotted an infringement and awarded Chelmsford a free kick.

In the ninth minute, Bubb was penalised for a push on Adam Tann as play was brought back after Bubb's shot had come back off the post.

Lee Peacock came close with a header from a McMahon cross on 14 minutes as Eastleigh continued to impress in the first quarter of an hour where they looked comfortable in possession and hard to break down.

A free kick from long range by McMahon was well watched by Searle with 18 played, before the game went through a barren spell with both sides keep cancelling each other out with no shots for a spell of twenty minutes or so.

Five minutes before the break, Elphick's sliding challenge on Craig Parker resulted in a Chelmsford free kick just outside the box.

Aiden Palmer's free kick was deflected off the Eastleigh wall where Jack Dovey rose high to claim the ball in the air.

The last action of the first half saw a Danny Smith shot deflected for an Eastleigh corner.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 0-0 Chelmsford City

A lot of the goal mouth action came in the second half after a goal less first forty-five.

The half began with a Daryl McMahon cross from the right being defended well by City's Kenny Clark, whilst at the opposite end of the pitch, Tom Jordan made an important interception to cut out Cliff Akurang's pull back across the face of goal.

The first chance fell Eastleigh's way in the 54th minute as a driven effort by Philip Appiah, to the right of the penalty area, flew narrowly wide of the far post.

McMahon's searching cross for Lee Peacock was kept away from danger as Adam Tann stood tall to head the ball clear for an Eastleigh corner.

Just past the hour mark, an excellent cross from the right by Daryl McMahon just evaded the outstretched legs of Lee Peacock in the six-yard box. Peacock's hold-up play was generally very good this afternoon and the experienced striker was desperately unlucky not to apply the finishing touch on this occasion.

Peacock then teed up Danny Smith who let fly with a shot from 30 yards that went just wide of goal.

Chelmsford's Ricky Modeste shot comfortably over the bar for the visitors in the 63rd minute and then crossed from the left three minutes later only for Parker to fail to get a good connection on his attempt at goal.

In the 72nd minute, Bubb found himself in space down the left flank and waited for support - which he received from McMahon. The former Boreham Wood midfielder latched on to Bubb's square pass into the box before firing a shot goal wards that had to be saved by Searle.

Both Chelmsford and Eastleigh came close in quick succession through headers. Chelmsford's Cliff Akurang nodded just wide of goal from a free header before Tom Jordan lofted the ball into the box for Peacock to head past the post.

ANDY FORBES headed home to complete a sweeping Eastleigh move and break the deadlock with 83 minutes played. Both Bubb and substitute Ian Herring combined before the ball was played to McMahon, who in turn crossed with pinpoint accuracy across goal. Forbes popped up to head home his fourth goal of the season to celebrate winning the Supporters Player of the Season award, which he was presented with before kick off today.

It probably should have been enough to win the game, but three minutes from time a penalty was awarded as Ricky Modeste stumbled over the trailing foot of Michael Green. DAVID RAINFORD stepped up to the spot to send Dovey the wrong way and equalise for Chelmsford to salvage a point.

A McMahon free kick was headed towards goal by Tom Jordan late in the game but was saved.

Jordace Holder-Spooner, who came on for Peacock, so nearly won the game for the Spitfires when he was played through on goal by Bubb in stoppage time only to see his shot kept out well by Searle.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 1-1 Chelmsford City
Chelmsford - 210412

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