Eastleigh 1-3 Dover Athletic

EASTLEIGH v DOVER ATHLETIC

Saturday 1st September 2012
Blue Square Bet South


Match report by Ray Murphy

Eastleigh looking for their third successive league victory welcomed fellow championship favourites Dover Athletic to The Silverlake Stadium, the side remaining unchanged for the third successive game also with Mitchell Nelson recovering from his midweek knock, the only change to the squad seeing Damian Scannell being called into the substitutes to replace Glen Southam.

The afternoon started well for Eastleigh who came quickly out of the blocks with Jai Reason seeing a shot saved by Dover Athletic goalkeeper Mitch Walker within the opening twenty-five seconds. The game was played throughout at a blistering pace with both sides intent on attacking. On nine minutes an exquisite piece of control by Marvin Williams from Tom Jordan’s through ball saw Williams fire a shot across the face of Walker but also just past the post. A minute later a quick Dover breakaway saw Ricky Modeste collecting a quickly taken free kick, Modeste a constant thorn in Eastleigh’s side at his previous Club Chelmsford City, took the ball to the byline before playing the ball across the six-yard box where there was nobody to apply a finishing touch.

With twelve minutes played Reason’s lofted pass into the path of Moses Ademola allowed the nippy winger an attempt to which Walker was equal. A minute later Mitchell Nelson was brushed aside by Dover striker Calum Willock but Jack Dovey saved the resultant shot. Nelson received treatment for an injury sustained in the challenge but though continuing he did have to give way five minutes later to be replaced by Gary Elphick.

On nineteen minutes Eastleigh took the lead. Craig McAllister picked himself up after being impeded some twenty yards from goal by Steve Watts, to loop home a header from Daryl McMahon’s free kick. Three minutes later Williams broke free on the right, his inside pass found McMahon who saw his low shot saved. As play switched from end to end Modeste on the Dover right played the ball into Watt who back heeled the ball into the path of Steve Thomson who fired just wide of the post.

On the half hour Michael Green’s block tackle denied Modeste a chance then a minute later Dover believed they had equalised when Willock wheeled away in celebration after heading home following Ian Simpenda’s flick on from Tom Wynter’s free kick but his joy was short lived as referee Craig Hicks acknowledged an offside flag from his assistant.

Within sixty seconds of this disappointment, Willock was wheeling away with an eligible celebration slotting the ball past Dovey after being fed with a pass by Ben May.

Dover almost added a second on thirty-seven minutes when Watt headed back Barry Cogan’s corner to allow Willock another header on goal, which Dovey saved. Two minutes before the interval the visitors did go ahead though. Willock was this time the creator, starting on the right flank working his way inside using his ability and strength before looking up and rolling the ball across the six yard box allowing May a tap in at the far post.

For a neutral this was an excellent game of football, both teams searching for a victory with the emphasis on attack. Andy Forbes playing as a full back with the exit of Nelson, sent in a cross on sixty-two minutes which saw McAllister have another header saved by Walker. Following good work from Damian Scannell and Ademola two minutes later, Ademola final product of his shot changed direction following a deflection off a defender, the ball then striking the underside of the crossbar before bouncing away out of danger.

Cogan saw a free kick go just wide of the target for Dover on sixty seven minutes then McMahon two minutes later for Eastleigh curled in another free kick which met with the same result. McAllister fed Scannell who then set up Williams on seventy minutes but Williams’ shot was pushed away by Walker. On seventy-five minutes Ademola’s pace and ability created an opening but Walker saved his low shot.

Chris Flood was introduced into the action to replace the injured McAllister, which saw Forbes pushed up into a striker’s role with Flood fulfilling the right back berth. Walker was quickly off his line to save at the feet of Williams on seventy-nine minutes.

Eastleigh came close to an equaliser on eighty-two minutes Scannell’s pass into McMahon, McMahon adjusting the ball onto his right foot to send I a shot from twenty-five yards that saw more Eastleigh anguish as it struck the bar. On eighty-six minutes though Dover basically sealed the victory. With Eastleigh in search of the equaliser, Dover substitute Billy Bricknell broke loose on a breakaway and with referee Hicks playing an advantage for the striker, Bricknell continued his run before hammering a shot down past Dovey for Dover’s third goal.

A double block from Tom Jordan in the third minute of stoppage time denied Willock a further goal, but an excellent afternoons entertainment even if the pleasure was not for the Eastleigh fan base.
Eastleigh v Dover Athletic - 01.09.12

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