Eastleigh 1-3 Welling United

Saturday 1st December 2012

Blue Square Bet South

Match Report by Jamie Montigue

Eastleigh's run of five games unbeaten at home in the Blue Square Bet South came to an end at the hands of Jamie Day's 2nd-placed Welling United. Eastleigh looked good value for their 1-0 lead at half time but the visitors hit back strongly after the break to score three times and claim all of the points despite controversy surrounding their second.

Coming in to the game the visitors were in a rich vein of form with 13 points from their last 6 league games. The Spitfires had lost their previous two matches - in the FA Trophy versus Hayes & Yeading United (1-4) and away in the league at AFC Hornchurch (0-1). Due to not having a game for a couple of weeks, Richard Hill's side got in a friendly at Romsey Town in midweek where the Spitfires won 4-0 courtesy of a Jai Reason hat trick and a goal from Craig McAllister.

Since the last league game, Eastleigh had seen goalkeeper Ross Flitney recalled by Gillingham and Moses Ademola depart the club to sign for Dover Athletic, (a move that Daryl McMahon also made earlier in the season). The end of Flitney's loan meant a first start between the sticks for Jack Dovey since the 13th of October.

In addition to Dovey coming back into the side, Mark Hughes and Dale Binns replaced Jamie Hand and the outgoing Ademola in today's starting eleven.

Damian Scannell celebrated the birth of his son during the week and the new father was looking to cap the good news with a win this afternoon. Scannell opened the game with an attacking run down the right hand side in the second minute but after his initially impressive approach play and skipping past his marker; the winger's cross went behind for a goal kick.

Jake Gallagher had a sight at the Eastleigh goal for the visitors but it was only a half chance and the hosts were able to clear their lines comfortably with five minutes played.

A minute later, a neat turn on the edge of the area from Kiernan Hughes-Mason saw the Wings' forward work room for a shot only to fire straight at Dovey. It was a good chance for Welling to take the lead.

Instead it was Eastleigh who broke the deadlock early in the game with nine minutes on the clock. Damian Scannell started the move combining with Jai Reason down the left. Reason picked up on Scannell's neat pass into the area and unselfishly rolled the ball across the face of goal for CRAIG MCALLISTER to turn home from close range.

Buoyed by McAllister's goal, Eastleigh came close to doubling their lead in the 12th minute from an excellent effort from Jai Reason who had spotted goalkeeper Sam Mott off his line and attempted a chip, which narrowly went over the bar.

Anthony Acheampong steered the ball wide from a Welling corner kick whilst an acrobatic effort from Andy Forbes at the opposite end was blocked. Though the ball fell for defender Mitchell Nelson, the full back couldn’t quite sort out his feet as the ball came his way.

With 21 minutes played, a cross from Scannell on the right was just a little bit behind the head of McAllister. The ball came to the feet of Dale Binns who lined up a shot but hit the ball into the ground and Welling survived the attack.

Midway through the half a free kick from Reason posed a problem or two before Binns claimed he was brought down in the area – nothing given by the referee.

Player-manager Jamie Day forced a save out of Jack Dovey as the midfield play-maker worked his way into the area from from the right and shot from a tight angle. Dovey stretched across his goal to parry the ball away from danger temporarily.

A wonderfully measured pass from Day in the 28th minute found the run of Ross Lafayette to perfection over the top of the Spitfires defence, but the Welling forward dragged his shot wide of goal to see a decent chance go begging.

Michael Green's cross found McAllister in the middle, though the goal scorer couldn’t quite get the ball under control on this occasion. Meanwhile Hughes-Mason failed to trouble Dovey with an effort from inside the 18-yard box after a good build-up and movement from the Welling forwards.

The action continued with a sublime effort from Scannell going desperately close to extending Eastleigh's advantage. The former Southend United winger cut inside from the right and fired a powerful shot towards goal with a left-footed strike that looked to be heading for the top corner. The attempt took a touch on the way through and Eastleigh had to make do with a corner kick.

As the rain began to come down a little heavier, Hughes-Mason showed neat footwork on the edge of the area but his low driven shot was blocked and cleared in the 40th minute.

Four minutes before the break, Dale Binns made a strong run through the centre and found himself clean through on goal. Sam Mott, the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half, made the save at Binns' feet and smothered the ball at the second attempt.

Eastleigh ended the half on the front foot with a corner from Reason being punched away by Mott under pressure from Binns. On the stroke of half time Glen Southam went close for the hosts before Reason went even closer with a left foot half volley that went just wide of the post.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 1-0 Welling United

If the first half belonged to Eastleigh, the second most certainly belonged to Welling United who managed to turn the game on it's head and leave the Spitfires empty-handed.

Eastleigh started brightly enough forcing Welling back into their own penalty area in the opening minutes after the restart. Barney Williams hooked the ball high towards his own goal where Sam Mott had to claim the ball in the air under his cross bar.

Ross Lafayette sliced a shot well wide of Jack Dovey’s goal in the 52nd minute but the visitors were not to be denied and soon found themselves back on level terms in the game thanks to a 56th minute equaliser from SCOTT KINCH. Kinch got the ball out of his feet and struck the ball well to fire into the corner of the net and out of Dovey’s reach from 20-yards out.

Two minutes shy of the hour mark, an excellent tackle by Ben Martin denied Jai Reason entry into the Welling penalty area to bring a Spitfires' attack to an end.

Welling were increasingly looking dangerous going forwards, whilst also restricting Richard Hill's side to limited opportunities in front of goal. A volley from Ross Lafayette deflected dangerously towards Eastleigh's goal and out for a corner.

Eastleigh's first and only substitution came in the 66th minute when Jamie Hand came on to replace Damian Scannell.

The game took a turn for the worse for the Spitfires when Welling United went ahead for the first time in the game with their second goal. ANTHONY ACHEAMPONG jumped with Dovey and headed home to find the net in the 67th minute, but controversy surrounded the incident that saw the Wings go 2-1 in front. Dovey and his Eastleigh team-mates were furious at the award of the goal as Acheampong looked to have fouled the goalkeeper as the pair went up for the ball. The referee was uninterested in the claims and the goal stood.

Falling behind in the match seemed to knock all of the stuffing out of Eastleigh who went on to concede once more to a KIERNAN HUGHES-MASON goal twelve minutes from time. Welling had been lively up front all afternoon and a good ball through saw Hughes-Mason side-step a challenge and coolly find the corner to seemingly put the game beyond Eastleigh with the visitors' third goal of the game.

As the game came to its conclusion Eastleigh had a couple of chances to reduce the arrears, firstly from an 85th minute 20-yard low strike by Glen Southam that was well saved by Mott at his near post.

In the 88th minute, Jai Reason worked an excellent opening to create a gilt-edged opportunity for McAllister to pull a goal back, though Mott stood firm and the chance was spurned.

Southam then drilled a shot into a wall of Welling defenders as the visitors went on to see out the four minutes of stoppage time to claim a well-earned 3-1 victory.

After Tuesday's Hampshire Senior Cup tie at Fleet Spurs, Eastleigh must look to bounce back in the league with a tricky fixture away at Dover Athletic.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 1-3 Welling United
Eastleigh v Welling United - 01/12/12


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