Eastleigh begin season with defeat
BOREHAM WOOD v EASTLEIGH
Saturday 18th August 2012
Blue Square Bet South
Saturday 18th August 2012
Blue Square Bet South
Match report by Ray Murphy
A glorious, sunny hot afternoon welcomed the start of the football season but unfortunately for Eastleigh that was where the brightness came to an abrupt halt.
Eastleigh found themselves on the same ground where they suffered their worst defeat of the 2011/12 season five months earlier, with a 1-6 mauling at the hands of Boreham Wood. If Eastleigh thought the odds were against them you could add in to the equation that the only other trip by Eastleigh to Boreham Wood also ended in defeat and also Eastleigh had not won their opening league fixture for the past three seasons.
Wood, themselves are optimistic for a top five finish this season, paraded two new signings into their side with goalkeeper James Russell and full back Ben Nunn - whilst Eastleigh gave a Blue Square debut to five summer arrivals in Glen Southam, Moses Ademola, Craig McAllister, Jai Reason and Marvin Williams.
Eve of season loan signing Callum McNish from Braintree Town started his career on the Eastleigh bench alongside other summer recruits Adam Everitt and Wayne Shaw. With Osei Sankofa, Lee Peacock, Gary Elphick and Mark Hughes all injured, the squad itself is already quite stretched.
The game started evenly with Boreham Wood showing that they have a solid foundation and a disciplined set up. Wood had the first opportunity on nine minutes when striker Inih Effiong should have done better with his header from a Graeme Montgomery free kick.
The hosts were dealt a blow two minutes later when influential midfielder and skipper Mario Noto limped away from the action with a hamstring injury.
McAllister was leading the Eastleigh front line well and on seventeen minutes he saw a header from a Michael Green free kick go just wide as Eastleigh were having the better of the exchanges during the opening half.
Boreham Wood though hit back with two chances; first in the eighteenth minute when Callum Reynolds' header from a David Hutton corner nestled on the top of the netting, then five minutes later Omer Riza ran behind a static Eastleigh defence and sent a right foot shot across the face of goal.
The story of the afternoon though unfolded around thirty-three minutes into the first half. Green saw an excellently struck thirty-five yard free kick beat keeper Russell but strike the post to be cleared away for a throw in.
With Eastleigh trying to make their pressure tell, Wood broke away from defensive mode as Hutton made ground up the field to play the ball into Riza. Riza managed to keep possession just inside the box before rolling the ball to the left foot of ex-Eastleigh midfielder GRAEME MONTGOMERY who planted his shot beyond Jack Dovey to give the home side the lead.
The Boreham Wood side immediately grew in confidence and their defensive rearguard was solid as Eastleigh tried to bring themselves back level. The midfield combat of Reason and Southam and ex-Wood favourite Daryl McMahon were battled all afternoon by the home sides Luke Garrard and Chez Isaac. The last chance of the half fell to Eastleigh with Ademola breaking through the Wood defence onto McMahon's through ball but full back Nunn was there to block any goalbound attempt.
The travelling Eastleigh contingent of whom serveral arrived late following an incident on the motorway, were still highly optimistic that a second half comeback would see Eastleigh through. The home side though definitely had other ideas. With Wood frequently falling foul of the offside law, Eastleigh were still struggling to get their forward players on the ball.
Eight minutes into the second period full back Mark Jones’ left wing cross-shot was tipped over the bar by Dovey, Jones acknowledging to the crowd that the shot was not the intention. From the resultant corner Charlie O’Loughlin headed the Montgomery delivery over. McMahon drilled a shot for Eastleigh over the bar but with the next attack on fifty-five minutes Eastleigh were two goals behind; Hutton’s exquisite pass arrived for EFFIONG who from the left flank alluded first to his left then to his right then firmly struck a right foot drive into the net.
McMahon was involved in most of the Eastleigh play and it was his reverse pass on sixty-two minutes that enabled Southam in on goal but Southam only managed to fire a shot into the side netting. Three minutes later McMahon curled a free kick the wrong side of the upright.
In the sixty-sixth minute the hope of an Eastleigh revival were virtually extinguished. A defensive mix up between Tom Jordan and Dovey allowed Effiong to lay the ball back across goal giving RIZA a simple tap in for a third Boreham Wood goal.
The Boreham Wood unit remained with due diligence and although Eastleigh did break through on a couple of occasions it was only Chris Flood that forced Russell to work when racing onto a long Dovey clearance, Flood made sure that the Wood goalkeeper was not totally devoid of any action. McMahon also had a long range effort saved as the game drifted away to a finish.