Eastleigh 3-1 Dorchester Town
EASTLEIGH v DORCHESTER TOWN
Monday 1st April 2013
Blue Square Bet South
Monday 1st April 2013
Blue Square Bet South
Match report by Jamie Montigue
Eastleigh completed a highly productive Easter Bank Holiday by sealing their second win and maximum points from the extended four-day weekend, to move to within two points of the Blue Square Bet South play-off positions.
Having beaten Basingstoke Town at the Camrose on Good Friday by the comfortable score line of 3-0, the Spitfires were tasked with facing Dorchester Town at the Silverlake Stadium this afternoon.
Two late first half goals scored by Jai Reason and Glen Southam put Eastleigh in a strong position at half time. An early Dorchester goal in the second half from Calvin Brooks halved the Spitfires' cushion, but only momentarily as Chris Zebroski quickly responded to the set back to restore Eastleigh's two-goal advantage.
Richard Hill named an unchanged starting eleven to take on Phil Simkin's side.
Early in the game, a cross from the right by Nick Crittenden was caught by Ross Flitney. The Eastleigh goalkeeper tried to launch a counter attack with a pinpoint kick out to the right; though the ball struck the back of Jai Reason and Dorchester were able to clear.
In the fifth minute a Jake Smeeton low shot from the edge of the area was saved by Flitney diving to his left. Eastleigh then had a good spell by forcing the Magpies under some early pressure inside the opening ten minutes.
Damian Scannell played a measured and lofted diagonal pass from right to left to pick out Dale Binns. Binns quickly controlled the ball and sent in a testing delivery into the danger zone where centre back Chris Todd attempted to back heel the ball goal wards.
Dorchester were finding it hard to cope with some of the intricate passing moves in the final third that Eastleigh were stringing together as another well-worked piece of play saw Chris Zebroski come close. The former Cheltenham Town forward made himself some space to the right of the penalty area where he drove a fierce shot towards goal from a tight angle that went right across the face of goal.
The next opportunity also went Eastleigh's way as Jai Reason was brought down just outside the area and a free kick was duly awarded to the hosts in a good position 20-yards out. Michael Green struck the set piece potently through the wall of Dorchester defenders but met his match in former Eastleigh stopper and experienced goalkeeper Jason Matthews, who got his body behind the ball to save.
For a few minutes Dorchester began to offer a threat of their own. Flitney came for a cross but dropped the ball under pressure at the edge of his area. The ex-Gillingham keeper then had to hurry a clearance as he fell, hooking the ball straight to Mark Jermyn who played the ball to Kieffer Moore. The striker's touch got the better of him on this occasion and the chance was gone as quickly as it came about.
With fifteen minutes played, Kieffer Moore, who was often operating as a lone striker throughout the afternoon for the Magpies, executed a half volley from outside the area that dipped and dropped narrowly over the cross bar.
Three minutes later Moore was involved again as his close-range header was comfortably saved and kept out by Flitney. Eastleigh immediately looked to turn defence in to attack but Damian Scannell slightly over-hit his pass looking for Zebroski.
Defender Mitchell Nelson found himself in an advanced position up the pitch and cut inside on to his left foot to shoot. It was a decent effort from the full back that saw the shot deflected before Matthews managed to prevent a corner kick by keeping the ball in play.
Midway through the half, an intended cross from Dale Binns from the left unintentionally struck the top of the Dorchester cross bar before coming back into play, where Dorchester were then able to clear their lines.
The game then went through a lean patch for a large spell as opportunities and goalmouth action proved scarce.
Dorchester defended a couple of Eastleigh set pieces well including a Michael Green free kick that was sent in to a dangerous area.
It took until the 40th minute for the games first goal to come about as Eastleigh's leading goal scorer JAI REASON broke the deadlock. Reason was on hand to capitalise on a misplaced header by Neil Martin that fell short of reaching Jason Matthews. The talismanic Eastleigh forward took just two touches, the first to intercept the pass and the second to find the back of the net with an unerring finish.
Eastleigh were able to double their lead in first half injury time to set the Spitfires well on the way to three points. GLEN SOUTHAM latched on to a long ball forward and the skipper found himself in on goal where he applied the finishing touch. Southam had time and space to pick his spot and nonchalantly beat Matthews.
HALF TIME: Eastleigh 2-0 Dorchester Town
With two goals scored late in the first half, the opposite occurred after the break as two early second half goals were added – one for either side.
CALVIN BROOKS popped up to head home from a Nick Crittenden corner kick in the 48th minute. It looked to be the perfect start for the visitors in response to conceding twice before half time.
As it so happened, Eastleigh had other ideas and were determined to not surrender their lead so easily as the Spitfires reacted extremely rapidly by notching their third goal of the game.
CHRIS ZEBROSKI connected beautifully with a pinpoint cross from the right to head the ball in off the frame of the goal and find the net. It was the perfect response for Eastleigh to restore a two-goal advantage over Dorchester Town.
Zebroski's goal ended an action-packed spell in the game where four goals where scored in the space of ten minutes (two in the last five minutes of the first half and two in the opening five of the second!).
In the 52nd minute, Jai Reason slipped the ball into the feet of Zebroski who forced a good save out of Matthews. There was barely time to catch your breath as the second half began frantically. In the next minute a testing cross from Reason bounced awkwardly in front of goal and had to be pushed up on to the bar by Matthews.
Eastleigh looked to be in a dominant and commanding mood and could have gone further ahead only for Chris Todd to see his header cleared off the line.
On the hour, Zebroski displayed strength on the half way line to hold off his defender and start a promising attack for his team. Michell Nelson's low cross was well cut out and smothered by Jason Matthews.
Dorchester were never allowed to get into any rhythm, which is credit to the way that Eastleigh defended and stayed organised.
Binns and Zebroski combined to good effect after sponsors man of the match Mark Hughes started the move by winning possession and spreading the play out to the far side. A clipped cross to the back post was inviting but nobody was there to take advantage as the delivery evaded everyone.
Eastleigh made their first substitution in the 67th minute, when Adam Watkins replaced Dale Binns. Watkins proved to be the super-sub on Good Friday when he came off the bench to score twice in the 3-0 win.
Jai Reason tried an ambitious effort on the volley with 70 minutes played, but the ball sailed a few yards wide of the post.
Moments later a testing delivery by Neil Martin from a Dorchester free kick was sent in to the Eastleigh penalty area where Charlie Clough couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
Craig McAllister was sent on in place of Damian Scannell fifteen minutes from time.
Within three minutes, McAllister had an early opportunity to make an impact from the bench following impressive play by Glen Southam. The Eastleigh captain controlled the ball neatly and then found McAllister in space with a precise pass to play the striker through on goal. McAllister opted to shoot first time with an attempt that was narrowly off target.
As the game entered it's closing stages, Chris Zebroski saw a header pushed behind for a corner, which ultimately came to nothing. At the opposite end Sam Malsom shot straight at the rarely troubled Ross Flitney.
With five minutes to play, Jai Reason played a one-two with Mark Hughes down the left touchline and crossed into the box with his left foot only for Matthews to intervene and cut out the danger.
Eastleigh's final change saw Andy Forbes replace the opening goal scorer Jai Reason.
There was time for Zebroski to go close after Southam's pass set the forward up for a shot from the right hand side. The effort went just inches past the post.
Despite the best efforts of the visitors, Eastleigh proved to be resilient and effective defensively to comfortably see the game out.
Richard Hill will be pleased with the way his side have picked up the results over the Easter weekend to stay in the hunt for the play-offs as we approach the business end of the season.
The key for the Spitfires, and any team challenging to finish in a play-off position, will be consistency. If we can keep this strong run going at home and become hard to beat away from the Silverlake, we will give ourselves every chance.
AFC Hornchurch will be the next opponents for Eastleigh on Saturday 6th April. Two away games follow at Truro City and Bath City before a run of three successive home games in a short space of time against Bromley, Tonbridge Angels and Truro City. Welling United will then welcome Eastleigh to Kent on the 27th April to complete a busy schedule of fixtures in the month of April.
FULL TIME: Eastleigh 3-1 Dorchester Town