Eastleigh 3-1 Bath City

EASTLEIGH v BATH CITY
Tuesday 30th October 2012

Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

Eastleigh made it five home wins in a row (four in the League) to bounce back from a narrow loss away to Eastbourne Borough at the weekend.

Richard Hill made two changes to the starting eleven with Mitchell Nelson coming into the side to partner Leigh Mills in the centre of defence in place of Tom Jordan; whilst top goal scorer Moses Ademola returned to the side in place of Dale Binns.

The game began with Eastleigh on the front foot as Damian Scannell won an early corner on the far side. Jai Reason’s set piece was aimed towards Craig McAllister where the ball then fell for midfielder Mark Hughes. The former Barnet skipper hit the ball on the volley but the effort was sliced and sailed comfortably off target.

Further attacking play by Scannell once more down the left, saw his low cross find Reason in space in the centre, though Jai's effort was well blocked.

The one-way traffic continued as Eastleigh sought to make an early impression and open the scoring early. Glen Southam passed the ball into McAllister in the 7th minute, the Eastleigh striker then chested the ball down but his half volley was wayward.

A free kick from the visitors saw Aaron Brown loft the ball forward from the half way line which escaped the attentions of every player as Eastleigh goalkeeper Ross Flitney, making his home debut, watched the ball safely wide.

DAMIAN SCANNELL opened the scoring in the 12th minute, and it was no less than the Spitfires deserved having made a promising start in the opening stages of the game. Scannell combined with McAllister to deadly effect to slam the ball home with a fine left-footed strike from 20-yards. McAllister flicked the ball neatly into Scannell's path and from there, Glyn Garner in the City goal could do little about the finish.

Scannell had already been causing problems in the opening ten minutes, proving to be a constant threat down the left where he gave his marker a torrid time before getting his just rewards.

Things got even better for Eastleigh as CRAIG McALLISTER doubled the lead just four minutes after the Spitfires had taken the lead. Scannell was instrumental in the goal by providing a low cross into the feet of McAllister. The former Crawley town target man saw his first effort clawed away by Garner, but Craig was on hand to fire home the rebound for his fifth league goal of the season.

Scannell was getting a lot of joy out on the left having scored a goal and provided an assist before a strong run resulted in a free kick just outside the penalty area. Jai Reason played it short to Southam who drove the ball low with a powerful strike that saw Garner at full stretch to make a good save.

Moses Ademola was impressing with a number of good touches and excellent foot work that often bamboozled the full back that he was attacking down the right flank.

Richard Hill was forced into making an early substitution with just 25 minutes on the clock as Dale Binns replaced one of the goal scorers McAllister, who had taken a knock to the face and suffered a broken nose.

Midway through the half Leigh Mills had a free header from a Southam corner that went just wide of the post. Ademola then combined with Jai Reason who couldn’t steer the ball home under pressure in the six-yard box.

With a healthy two-goal cushion up to this stage, Eastleigh were soon to find the score line a little less comfortable as Bath City hit back with a 34th minute goal. CHRIS ALLEN pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area after a strong shot from Josh Low was parried by Flitney, allowing Allen to slam the ball into the back of the net. The goal could have paved a way back into the game for the visitors; thankfully Eastleigh responded to the minor set back with a third goal of their own before the half was out to restore their two-goal advantage.

A Glen Southam corner was put into the danger area with a testing delivery that had to be tipped over the cross bar by Glyn Garner. At the opposite end of the pitch, a cross from Dan Ball was dealt with by Flitney and turned behind for a corner.

Eastleigh won possession back and set off on a counter attack, which resulted in a JAI REASON strike putting the Spitfires 3-1 ahead. Ademola’s turn in the penalty area created space where he then picked out a good pass for Reason to fire past the keeper. The goal came six minutes before the break and was Reason's sixth goal of the season.

The final action of the half saw Dale Binns try his luck with a shot from 30-yards that whistled low and just past the post. Eastleigh will have been pleased with how the first forty-five minutes panned out as they held a convincing lead.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 3-1 Bath City

After a four-goal first half, the second half that followed didn't quite live up to the same high expectations.

An early attempt by Michael Green in the 47th minute saw the left back fire a shot wide of goal after good approach play.

Eastleigh then had a strong chance to extend their advantage within the first five minutes of the second half. Moses Ademola played the ball into Dale Binns who broke into the area at speed before seeing his shot well saved at point blank range. Damian Scannell followed up with a looping header that was steered wide of goal as the chance to add a fourth goal passed by.

Bath's Noah Keats sent a shot high over the bar from out on the left for the visitors in the 50th minute. After a spell of both sides cancelling each other out, a fine turn and shot from Ademola from 20 yards out went just over the bar. Ademola's skill and quick-feet again coming to the fore.

As the game progressed it was the visitors who enjoyed their best spell of possession but without ever really threatening the Eastleigh defence who kept their shape and defended their goal well. Chris Allen, who scored in the first half, was put through on goal after an hour of play, but Gillingham loanee goalkeeper Ross Flitney was off his line quickly to avert the danger.

The defence of Osei Sankoda, Mitchell Nelson, Leigh Mills and Michael Green all played their part in protecting and holding on to the score line in place as Eastleigh saw out the game with relative ease. Glen Southam was named as the sponsors man of the match for a commanding influence in the middle of the park where both he and Mark Hughes provided the solidarity to allow the likes of Scannell, Reason, Binns and Ademola to provide the attacking flair.

A couple of shots from Bath City in the space of a minute were well charged down in the Eastleigh penalty area as the visitors tried to impose themselves a little more. Ross Flitney showed a safe pair of hands to claim the ball well in the air from a corner kick to relieve any momentary pressure.

Both sides had a couple of half chances with Josh Low firing straight at Flitney from 12 yards before Dale Binns got on the end of a pass from Reason only to shoot behind and fail to trouble the goalkeeper.

The game was played at a slower pace as the ninety minutes approached on the scoreboard. A fantastic effort from Jai Reason nine minutes from time, saw the creative attacking midfielder's shot heading for the top corner from distance and fly just inches wide.

Dale Binns ensured Eastleigh ended the game as they had begun – on the front foot - as his low cross had to be cut out from the City defence and hacked clear.

The first half performance from Eastleigh was impressive and more than enough to see the Spitfires through to a 3-1 victory and an important three points. Richard Hill's side host former manager Paul Doswell's Sutton United at the weekend where Eastleigh will be looking to continue their strong home form.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 3-1 Bath City
Eastleigh v Bath City - 30.10.12

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