Hill off to perfect start - Eastleigh 4-2 Maidenhead

EASTLEIGH v MAIDENHEAD UNITED

Saturday 15th September 2012
Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

Eastleigh FC parted company with Ian Baird in the week after a run of three straight defeats but leaving behind a lot of good memories and service in his five year tenure.

Richard Hill arrived at the club just days ago as Baird's replacement and was unveiled to the Silverlake Stadium crowd before kick off against Maidenhead United where he received a warm welcome.

The dawn of a new era at Eastleigh began with Richard Hill's Spitfires getting off to a winning start in a high-scoring six goal encounter.

Hill made three changes to the starting eleven who were beaten 4-0 away at Billericay Town with Andy Forbes, Jai Reason and Moses Ademola replacing Gary Elphick, Adam Everitt and Damian Scannell.

The game began with Eastleigh making a lively start. One minute in, Moses Ademola, who was playing down the right of midfield - beat his man at the touchline and chipped an effort just wide of the far post.

Good work down the left by Dale Binns then saw Eastleigh win an early corner from which, captain Daryl McMahon’s delivery was met by a strong downward header by Tom Jordan that went just the wrong side of the post.

In the fifth minute Ademola set up Binns for an attempt at goal as the tricky left-sided player hit a dipping strike from the edge of the area that flew narrowly over Billy Lumley’s goal.

Hill's side continued to play on the front foot and were creating plenty of chances in the opening exchanges. A through ball from Jai Reason, who was operating a little further forward this afternoon - just off the front man Craig McAllister; was just a little too strong for Ademola to get to.

Reason then exchanged passes with Ademola with Moses firing a low, dangerous ball across goal which just evaded McAllister at the far post with ten minutes played.

It wasn't until the 13th minute that Johnson Hippolyte's side had a sight at the Eastleigh goal from a Maidenhead free kick that was safely gathered in the air by Jack Dovey.

Against the run of play, the visitors took a 19th minute lead with the opening goal of the game. LEON SOLOMON arrowed an angled shot from outside the 18-yard box to beat the dive of Dovey and find the net following good approach play by Harry Pritchard.

Midway through the half, McMahon saw a free kick cleared as Tom Jordan looked to have had his shirt pulled in the area but the referee was uninterested in any claims for a penalty kick.

Jordan was in the action again as he saw his strong header saved by Billy Lumley in the Maidenhead goal from a Daryl McMahon corner. Lumley had a brief stint at Eastleigh following a trial from the Glen Hoddle Academy a couple of seasons ago.

Leon Solomon tried his luck with a free kick from 25-yards in the 28th minute though it was comfortably saved by Dovey.

Were it not for an excellent tackle by Leigh Henry to block Craig McAllister's route to goal as the target man looked to shoot, the Spitfires may have levelled sooner.

Ten minutes before the break Reason teed the ball up for McMahon whose tame shot from outside of the area was easily saved by the keeper.

Eastleigh equalised in the 37th minute through the club's August player of the month MOSES ADEMOLA. Ademola played a neat one-two with Reason where he collected the ball and steadied himself to find the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season - a typically cool finish from the ex-Woking man.

The Spitfires buoyed by squaring things up on the scoreboard looked to increase their lead prior to half time. Binns threaded a pass through into the area for Reason whose chipped left foot effort beat Lumley but was headed off the line.

For the second time in a matter of minutes, Eastleigh saw an effort cleared off the line, this time it was Tom Jordan who so nearly headed Eastleigh in front only to find Derek Duncan well-placed on the line to clear the ball away from danger.

Eastleigh were in the ascendancy as half time came, having played the better football and coming from behind to cancel out Solomon's effort with a Moses Ademola finish.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 1-1 Maidenhead United

After the break a testing cross from Derek Duncan from the left hand side was dealt with by Eastleigh keeper Jack Dovey.

Eastleigh were soon back to their best with a great move from the hosts seeing a number of passes in and around the Maidenhead area result in goal scorer Moses Ademola playing another one-two with Jai Reason only for Moses to fail to keep his shot down on this occasion, as he leaned back and shot a little off balance.

In the 54th minute Maidenhead winger Harry Pritchard cut in from the left flank but fired over the cross bar with his shot from range.

Just over ten minutes into the second half, Eastleigh took the lead for the first time in the game and the goal came from an unlikely source. Summer signing OSEI SANKOFA put Eastleigh 2-1 ahead when the former Boreham Wood defender had popped up in an attacking position to net his first goal for his new club. Dale Binns - who was later named the sponsors man of the match, was instrumental in the goal to provide the assist with a measured pass to find Sankofa’s run. The right back toe-poked the ball home to score an important goal and beat Lumley at his near post.

In the 62nd minute Craig McAllister's perfect headed flick on saw Jai Reason in the clear in behind the Maidenhead defence. Reason appeared to have too much time and in the end got his feet in a tangle as the chance to increase their lead passed by.

Daryl McMahon then fired a low free kick straight at Lumley before Maidenhead were back on level terms in the 66th minute. REECE TILSON-LASCARIS applied the finish for the visitors to pull the score back to 2-2 with a well-taken left-foot strike.

Eastleigh's first change of the game saw Damian Scannell replace Moses Ademola. Gary Elphick and Lee Peacock were both brought on late in the game.

The Spitfires went on to control the game and finish the stronger side. Glen Southam flicked a high ball into the box where Craig McAllister’s glancing header went wide of goal.

Scannell's first contribution off the bench saw an exciting run end with a curling shot that deflected for an Eastleigh corner.

Dale Binns then fed the ball into the feet of Scannell who spun with his back to goal and saw his shot saved from close range by Lumley.

Maidenhead found themselves under increasing pressure when Binns beat his marker for pace down the left before rolling the ball across goal where an important touch prevented Scannell from tapping in to an empty net.

TOM JORDAN made sure Eastleigh's dominance paid off to send the Spitfires crowd into celebration as he headed home in trademark fashion to connect with a McMahon corner and put Eastleigh 3-2 in front.

Having restored the lead Eastleigh went on to close out the game in attacking fashion.

A McMahon pass through to Reason saw Jai tripped in the area as he scrambled a shot through to Lumley who saved.

With a minute of normal time remaining Daryl McMahon hit a free kick in a central position from just outside the area that cleared the Maidenhead wall and curled just over the bar.

GLEN SOUTHAM ensured it would be a perfect start to life with Eastleigh for new manager Richard Hill with a wonderful goal to seal the points in stoppage time. McAllister held the ball up superbly (as he did all afternoon), before the ball found its way to Southam. Southam played a one-two with Reason before rounding off a stunning team move to pick out the far corner of goal with a driven left-footed strike.

It was a fine way to mark the new start for the football club under new management, with the performance and result all going Eastleigh's way.

The Spitfires travel to Farnborough to begin their FA Cup campaign next Saturday.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 4-2 Maidenhead United
Eastleigh v Maidenhead United - 150912

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