McAllister the hat-trick hero: Eastleigh 3-0 Bromley

EASTLEIGH v BROMLEY
Tuesday 16th April 2013

Blue Square Bet South

Match report by Jamie Montigue

A hat trick in the space of ten minutes from second half substitute Craig McAllister ensured Eastleigh climbed back into the play-off positions.

The Spitfires saw off Bromley with a 3-0 victory at the Silverlake Stadium to continue their rich vein of form. Richard Hill's side are now unbeaten in six consecutive games and also undefeated in ten successive home matches.

Their were three changes to the Eastleigh side that went to Bath City and drew 1-1 at the weekend. Mark Hughes and Damian Scannell were both back from suspension and started tonight; and Corey King also came in to starting eleven at the expense of McAllister. Michael Green missed tonight's game with a dead leg sustained on Saturday, whilst Dale Binns became a father recently and wasn't involved in the squad tonight.

After a quiet opening to the game, a neat piece of skill and footwork from young winger Corey King on the right saw the ball worked to Glen Southam whose clever cross in to the box had to be cleared away from danger.

It took until the 16th minute for the first chance of the game to come about, and it went to the hosts as Jai Reason swung the ball in from a corner. Chris Zebroski lost his marker but sent a free header just wide of the post from the penalty spot.

Two minutes later, a free kick from Reason narrowly evaded both Dean Beckwith and Zebroski in the middle as Eastleigh looked to take control of the game.

Eastleigh continued to threaten in the final third as Mark Hughes crossed the ball invitingly from the left, which only just missed the head of Zebroski in the 21st minute.

The first half certainly wasn't spectacular but it was Eastleigh who were looking the most likely in front of goal and asking all of the questions.

Midway through the half a high ball into the box was not dealt with by the Bromley goalkeeper Joe Welch, who attempted to punch the ball but missed it before his defence were eventually able to clear.

In the 29th minute, Chris Zebroski had a sight at goal after Alex Lacey – who was playing at left back owing to Michael Green's absence; delivered a cross from the left hand side. Zebroski got his shot away but was denied by Marlon Patterson who blocked bravely to make an important stop.

A header from Dean Beckwith was caught under the cross bar by Welch from a Southam corner, before Zebroski had another chance.

Ten minutes before the break, Mitchell Nelson played the ball in behind the visiting defence which was placed and weighted perfectly to find Zebroski through on goal. This time, Moses Swaibu made an excellent and well-timed challenge to prevent a shot and deny Zebroski as he tried to cut in on to his left foot.

At the end of the half, a headed effort from Zebroski went a good few yards wide of goal, whilst Bromley's first attempt came in the 41st minute when right-back Sanchez Ming got forward only to misplace his shot off target.

There was still time for one more chance for Eastleigh and Bromley before the whistle was sounded for half time. Zebroski had got himself beyond the final defender once more but scuffed his shot tamely towards the goalkeeper.

Louie Theophanous then forced a smart reaction save out of an otherwise untroubled Ross Flitney as the half came to a close with the scores level.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 0-0 Bromley

Eastleigh started the half on the front foot with Joe Welch having to punch the ball away to deal with a Corey King cross.

Damian Scannell was involved in a lot of attacking play in the opening minutes of the second half, and forced a corner kick on the near side. From the resulting set piece, Chris Zebroski controlled the ball with his back to goal and saw his shot deflected behind.

At the opposite end of the pitch, Elliot Buchanan hit a shot into the ground and the ball bounced safely wide of the post.

Approaching the hour mark, King picked out Zebroski with a cross where the striker brought the ball under control with a beautiful touch before forcing a save out of Welch, who had to push the attempt away. Scannell looked to pounce with a couple of follow-up efforts but the ball was eventually scrambled wide.

In the 62nd minute, Bromley threatened with Pierre Joseph-Dubois with the ball at his feet inside the Eastleigh penalty area. Two shots were exceptionally blocked in quick succession by the Eastleigh defence who stood tall and strong when called in to action.

Andy Forbes was sent on in place of Chris Todd who picked up an injury with 64 minutes played. Alex Lacey moved in to the centre of defence along side Dean Beckwith allowing Forbes to play at left-back.

The Spitfires then made a double substitution in an attempt to change the game for the better twenty minutes from time. Adam Watkins replaced Corey King and Craig McAllister came on for Damian Scannell.

In recent weeks it has been Watkins who has provided impact and goals from the bench. This time the introduction and fine cameo appearance of McAllister proved to be the difference as the game came alive in its latter stages.

Jai Reason hit a powerful shot through a crowd of players where Welch saved in the 71st minute.

Two minutes later, a commanding header from Mitchell Nelson on the half way line set McAllister on a surging run towards goal. The former Crawley Town forward got into the penalty area but fired over the bar with his left foot.

Jack Holland then volleyed over following a Bromley break and cross from the left. In a short space of time, Eastleigh were on the attack again with Reason dragging an effort wide for the hosts.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 76th minute. CRAIG MCALLISTER profited from the hard work and persistence of Chris Zebroski who had powered his way to the byline. McAllister was on hand to head home from a couple of yards after Zebroski's pinpoint cross from the right.

Eastleigh's night was about to get even better and the result more comfortable having taken the lead late in the game.

First though, Sanchez Ming had a shot kept out by the Eastleigh defence with the ball falling for Danny Waldren who wasn't far away from goal with an acrobatic overhead kick.

Eight minutes from time, CRAIG MCALLISTER doubled his and Eastleigh's tally for the evening by finishing well from a Glen Southam corner.

Eastleigh were celebrating the award of a penalty moments later when Adam Watkins let fly with a shot that was spilled by the keeper. Zebroski closed in on the rebound but was pushed to the ground leaving the referee little choice but to point to the spot.

Having scored twice already, CRAIG MCALLISTER wasn't going to pass on the opportunity to complete a hat trick, which he duly did by coolly slotting home the penalty and sending Welch the wrong way. It was McAllister's 13th goal of the season and put tonight's game beyond all doubt as the Spitfires sealed all three points.

Things are shaping up very nicely for the Spitfires with just three league games remaining, two of which are at home.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 3-0 Bromley

Eastleigh v Bromley - 16.04.13 by Eastleigh FC

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