Eastleigh 1-1 Boreham Wood

Tuesday 12th March 2013

Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

The Spitfires took on Boreham Wood tonight knowing that a victory would take them onto level points with the Hertfordshire side, who before the game occupied the fourth and final play-off spot.

Since early January, when Eastleigh found themselves second-bottom in the Blue Square Bet South, Richard Hill's side have come a very long way. In the space of a couple of months, Eastleigh have pulled themselves away from the mire and charged up the table towards play-off contention by winning eight and drawing one of their last 11 league games. It is a spell that has seen 25 points picked up with just ten goals conceded in that time.

The same side that saw off Maidenhead United in the impressive 2-0 away victory at the weekend lined up to start the game this evening at the Silverlake Stadium.

A promising start to the game was made by winger Damian Scannell who twisted and turned on the ball to skip past the challenge of Mark Jones. Scannell worked space for a low cross to be sent in from the right, which was just about cleared away.

In the fourth minute, Dale Binns made a strong run down the left which saw the pacey ex-Woking man get to the edge of the penalty area before firing a shot narrowly wide of the far post. Binns was keeping the width well on the left hand side to provide a good outlet for the hosts, whilst Boreham Wood were playing with a fairly narrow and compact midfield.

Good combination work between front-men Chris Zebroski and Jai Reason saw Eastleigh win a free kick around 25-yards from goal in a central position. Damian Scannell took the consequent set piece to bend the ball around the wall and just past the post.

Boreham Wood's first sight at goal came from a free kick in the 9th minute where the ball was curled in to the danger area by Greg Morgan and met with a downward header from Charlie O’Loughlin. The tall centre-half went close but failed to hit the target or trouble Ross Flitney as the effort went a couple of yards wide.

Sheer work rate and determination saw Eastleigh force a corner as both Scannell and Reason pressed high up the pitch to pressurise the opposition and make it difficult for them to play out from the back. Morgan was constrained by the pressure of Scannell, and conceded possession where Reason took over and then saw his cross turned behind by James Russell in the visiting goal.

Chris Zebroski tried his luck with a low shot on fourteen, but his effort took a slight deflection and was saved comfortably by Russell.

What happened next was a goal of the highest order to break the deadlock in Eastleigh's favour.

JAI REASON found the back of the net with a sensational volley to pick out the top corner with a goal that would grace any division in football. The build up and approach play made the goal that much more special due to the fine movement and team effort involved.

It was a very well constructed goal after patient, passing football. Chris Zebroski played an exquisite first time pass around the corner into the path of Michael Green, who got to the byline and centred the ball with a left-wing cross. The lofted delivery found it's way to Damian Scannell at the back post who nonchalantly lifted the ball back to the edge of the area with a first time pass. Reason took no second thought in going for goal after Scannell's assist and ley fly with an unstoppable strike to leave the keeper with no chance. The technique was sublime as Reason provided a spectacular finishing touch to round off the move in style on the volley.

After that 17th minute opening goal, which will no doubt be remembered for some time in these parts, Eastleigh set out to press home their advantage by extending their lead further.

Dale Binns volleyed towards goal from the left of the box in the 23rd minute but James Russell got his body behind the ball at his near post to save. At the opposite end of the pitch Michael Thalassitis hit the ball early as it dropped to his feet. It was a decent effort from the forward and took a big deflection off of Chris Todd to head out of play for a corner kick.

From the corner, Eastleigh broke straight away to launch a counter attack by turning defence into attack rapidly. Jai Reason played a measured pass through the heart of The Wood defence to carve out an opportunity. Chris Zebroski had made a good run and out-sprinted his marker to get into a strong position in front of goal only to fire a shot wide of the target.

Eastleigh continued to look strong and organised across the pitch and were very good value for their 1-0 lead approaching the latter stages of the first half. Ross Flitney was largely untroubled without so much as a save to make as the Spitfires took the game to the visitors.

Ten minutes before the break a Jai Reason free kick had precision but lacked power and was easy for Russell to catch. A couple of minutes later, Reason flicked on a high ball where Zebroski so nearly brought it down into his stride before a fair and well-timed challenge came in from a defender to halt the Eastleigh attack.

The final five minutes of the first half were all about Eastleigh as well, as the Spitfires continued to attack and thwart any attempt of Boreham Wood. Green played a great ball down the line for Reason with 37 minutes on the clock. The goal scorer's hooked cross in search of Scannell was lifted away by Russell with one hand and eventually caught.

Scannell saw a side foot effort saved and moments later turned provider with a burst of energy and strong run through the centre of pitch on a counter attack. The former Southend United winger picked out Zebroski with a pass, who in turn controlled the ball and drove a shot inches wide of the far post with an angled left-foot attempt across goal.

There was to be no let up from the hosts as Eastleigh continued to keep Boreham Wood on the defensive up until the half time whistle. A cross from Scannell from the right was attacked well by Dale Binns as Eastleigh won a corner. The busy James Russell had to make an important intervention to push away Reason’s in-swinging delivery from the resulting set piece.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 1-0 Boreham Wood

Early in the second half Ben Nunn was on hand to position himself well to head the ball back to his goalkeeper as Damian Scannell attempted to find a way through on goal by chasing down a lost cause.

A passage of intricate play from Eastleigh saw a lot of possession in and around the opposition goalmouth with a string of passes that saw the ball worked from left to right and back across the pitch. For all of the impressive build up play and neat passing, there was to be no end product on this occasion.

In the 52nd minute a dangerous cross from the left by Boreham Wood had to be headed away at the back post by the well-placed Michael Green. Five minutes later, Eastleigh went on the attack and came very close to doubling their advantage.

Jai Reason flicked the ball on to link with Chris Zebroski. The willing runner and strong target man worked the ball out to the left to find Dale Binns in a bit of space. Binns was quick to shoot and his effort produced a good save from James Russell as the ball was heading towards the top corner.

Two minutes shy of the hour mark, Loick Pires stuck out a leg to challenge for a loose ball in the Eastleigh penalty area but Ross Flitney stood tall to keep the ball out.

A diagonal ball into the Boreham Wood penalty area by captain Glen Southam was chested down by Reason, who was then brought to the ground after a tussle with Charlie O’Loughlin. Referee Nigel Lugg was uninterested in any claims of a penalty kick.

Eastleigh's first change of the game came in the 65th minute when midfielder Adam Watkins replaced Damian Scannell. Not for the first time, the on-loan Luton Town player looked assured on the ball and completed a number of successful passes.

In the 68th minute an excellent cross from the left by Zebroski saw a header from Jai Reason kept out.

Reason forced Russell into another save as play progessed further. Adam Watkins teed the ball up for Eastleigh's leading scorer who shot with the outside of his boot from the edge of the area with a good effort that was on target.

Against the run of play, Boreham Wood found themselves back in the game and on level terms. CHARLIE O'LOUGHLIN was on hand to steer a header home from a corner in the 72nd minute. From Eastleigh's point of view it was a disappointing goal to concede to come unstuck cheaply from a set piece.

For the remainder of the game, Eastleigh went in search of regaining their lead with a number of attempts on goal.

First, good closing down by Reason presented an opening for Zebroski to shoot from 25-yards. Russell got across his goal quickly to save for the visitors.

The next chance that came was perhaps the best for Eastleigh to restore their advantage. Jai Reason played a neat ball through to Dale Binns who found himself beyond the Boreham Wood defence. Binns opened up his body to shoot and succeded in beating the keeper but was unfortunate to see his effort come back off the inside of the post.

Having hit the post, Eastleigh were then denied by the woodwork again, this time it was the cross bar coming to the aid of the visitors in the 77th minute. A deep cross from the left by Michael Green was met by a strong glancing header from Zebroski, which had the goalkeeper beaten and came back off the bar.

Twelve minutes from time, Adam Watkins' chipped cross found Chris Todd in the penalty area. Todd's header was diverted goal wards though the ball was somehow clawed off the line and kept out.

The Spitfires continued to look the most likely of the two sides to find a winning goal. Dean Beckwith went close with a header going just over the top of goal from a corner and then Glen Southam sent in a testing delivery that had to be punched away by James Russell.

With time running out, Eastleigh came away unscathed from an uncharacteristic error from a misplaced pass by Beckwith. The ball across the face of the Eastleigh goal could have proved to be costly as it fell short of it's intended target with substitute Cliff Akurang closing in. Fortunately Flitney was alert to the danger and got to the ball in the nick of time to clear.

Late in the game, Eastleigh won a free kick in a good position from which Reason rolled the ball in to the path of Southam who dragged his effort wide of the up right.

Eastleigh had to settle for just the one point as they were made to rue missed opportunities in a game that for the most part was controlled and dominated by the hosts.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 1-1 Boreham Wood

Eastleigh v Boreham Wood - 12.03.13 by Eastleigh FC


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