Fine home form continues: Eastleigh 1-0 Sutton

Saturday 3rd November 2012

Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

Eastleigh rounded off a productive week at the Silverlake Stadium with a maximum return of six points to see the club up to third in the Blue Square Bet South. Today's game saw Eastleigh earn a second victory in a matter of days having already beaten Bath City 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Since taking charge of the Spitfires, Richard Hill has now overseen five successive home league victories where he boasts a highly impressive 100 per cent record.

Former manager Paul Doswell, who will be remembered and thanked for masterminding successive promotions to see the club rise from the Wessex League to the Conference South; brought his Sutton United side to the Silverlake this afternoon. Ex-Spitfires Anthony Riviere and Marvin Williams, who linked up with the U's only last week, were both facing their old club whilst it was good to see Wayne Shaw back as well.

Hill made just one change to his winning starting eleven from Tuesday, as Tom Jordan returned to the heart of the Eastleigh defence in place of the absent Leigh Mills.

The game began with a cross from Michael Green being flicked on by Jordan at the near post. Moses Ademola looked certain to head home though the forward found himself in an offside position in front of goal.

In the sixth minute, a deep free kick from goalkeeper Ross Flitney saw Sutton United forced back towards their own goal, as Flitney's opposite number Kevin Scriven unconventionally kneed the ball away from danger.

It wasn't long before the Spitfires had found an early break through as JAI REASON scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the 11th minute. A cross into the box from Green on the left saw Scriven drop the ball under pressure from Reason, who steadied himself to tap into the unguarded goal from close range,

Having taken the lead the Eastleigh fans were in fine voice behind the goal in celebration.

Eastleigh were forced into making an early substitution as Osei Sankofa picked up an injury in the build up to the goal. Sankofa was on the ground when Southam picked up the ball and set Green forward down the flank to create the goal. Andy Forbes was sent on to replace the unfortunate Sankofa and played admirably as his replacement at right back.

Looking to extend their lead further, Eastleigh continued to look dangerous going forwards. Ademola crossed from the right into the centre where captain Glen Southam lined up an overhead kick only for Sutton to clear.

Still with just a quarter of an hour played, Damian Scannell, who was instrumental in the Bath City win with a goal and an assist, crossed from the right into the feet of Craig McAllister. The ball was held up and touched into the path of Mark Hughes who fired a shot just over from 20 yards.

A heavy touch from Scriven almost allowed Reason to nip in for a second goal in the 18th minute, whilst moments later good work from Marvin Williams on the counter attack saw Stefan Payne played into the area but fail to take advantage.

McAllister could have been through on goal with the flag staying down as Green crossed, but his touch took him away from threatening Scriven as Sutton managed to recover and scramble the ball to safety.

Tom Jordan then steered a header comfortably wide from a Reason corner before Eastleigh temporarily went down to ten men as McAllister received treatment at the side of the pitch for a nose bleed (having broke his nose in the last game).

The hosts always looked the most likely to add to the score line and came close when Hughes was tripped just outside the area. Reason fired the free kick goal wards with a powerful strike that could only be pushed away by Scriven.

Ten minutes before the break, Sutton won a free kick of their own as Williams was brought down just outside the box. From the resulting set piece a dangerous delivery from Sam Rents was deflected behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

Flitney was almost caught out by Payne at the edge of his area but Tom Jordan got back brilliantly to hook the ball away at the crucial moment.

Towards the end of the first half, a header from Mitchell Nelson was headed off the line by Paul Telfer from a free kick.

Good play in the 40th minute saw Andy Forbes play the ball into McAllister who in turn laid it off for Reason to slice a volley off target.

Eastleigh continued to be the better team and ended the half on the front foot with Tom Jordan's pass forward for Ademola seeing the ball rolled across goal and cut out by Telfer with Scannell waiting in the six-yard box.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 1-0 Sutton United

An early half chance in the second half fell Eastleigh's way as Moses Ademola chipped a shot straight at Kevin Scriven moments after the restart.

In the 48th minute, Eastleigh won a free kick as Ross Flitney's excellent delivery forward into Ademola drew a foul in a dangerous position. Michael Green stepped up to take the set piece and his fine attempt with a well struck shot proved too hot to handle as Scriven could only parry and gather at the second attempt.

Jai Reason was the next to come close, when in the 52nd minute Glen Southam played a short free kick to Reason whose low driven shot took a deflection and went behind for a corner.

Sutton felt that they should have had a penalty when Flitney came a long way off his line for the ball to challenge Craig Dundas prior to the hour mark. Flitney's punch did enough to keep the danger at bay as Dundas went to ground.

Sam Rents struck a free kick for the visitors from some way out, that sailed a good few yards wide of the post in the 60th minute.

A minute later, the ball dropped for Southam to hit a thumping half volley that went narrowly over the cross bar, but the score remained the same with the Spitfires holding on to their 11th minute lead.

Dale Binns came on for Moses Ademola and soon after, Eastleigh's third and final substitution saw a debut for young midfielder David Whittaker who replaced Mark Hughes (Hughes was on a yellow card). Whittaker has come through the youth and reserve team here at Eastleigh and will have been proud to make his first appearance in Conference South football. He didn't appear to be fazed by the occasion and battled away in midfield. David's first contribution was a pinpoint pass down the left flank to start an Eastleigh attack.

An excellent effort from Stefan Payne in the 70th minute saw the United forward's curling shot from 30 yards fly just wide of the upright.

With the game still in the balance and finely poised at 1-0, Eastleigh were a matter of inches from winning a penalty when Michael Green was tripped right on the line of the penalty area. Reason struck the free kick from the left hand side which curled wide of the far post.

Fourteen minutes from time Payne found the net for Sutton but the flag was up for offside by the referee' s assistant before he even shot.

A free header from Tom Jordan went wide as he was stretching for the ball and then in the

81st minute, Stefan Payne should have done much better with a header from 6 yards. It was arguably the visitors' best chance to level the scores, but the opportunity was spurned as the header was too high despite Payne being well placed to at least hit the target.

Paul Doswell and Sutton were determined to salvage something from the game as they begun to throw several bodies forward in an attempt to rescue a point. Eastleigh had other ideas however, and stuck to the task well by defending as a team and withstanding any last minute pressure thrown at them.

With two minutes to play Anthony Riviere nodded just wide of the post before four minutes of added time were played out.

Scannell so nearly killed the game off with a second goal but was denied by a fantastic block in the closing stages of the game.

Eastleigh saw the game out relatively comfortably in the end, as they registered their third clean sheet of the season - their first since the end of August, to claim yet another three points on home turf.
FULL TIME: Eastleigh 1-0 Sutton United
Eastleigh v Sutton United - 03.11.12


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