Match Thread : still waiting for team news but Breedy seems to think that Pearce at right back again and McDonald with Gueguen (making his starting debut) in central defence. Hope Dawson will be playing at right back.
Another tough match as we try to notch our first double this season....
the irony of it all is that the last few signings we have made,either freebies or week to week contracts,have turned out to be the best players we have.Sadly shop window for someone else just take away
what a person is told is not half as important as what they think they have been told
An enjoyable match on a bitterly cold day. First half both sides were very disjointed.
Guegen and MacDonald were solid, although it was a weak header straight to their centre half from Guegen that led to him looping a header over everyone and onto Burton's foot for a tap in. The defending from that looping header was non-existant. They hit the bar not long afterwards. Fits and starts from both sides for the remainder of that first half, with Chapell looking lively in the right before going off.
The best chance came near the end of the half where Bowman rounded their keeper, but had his shot well blocked. From the resulting corner came the breakthrough. Poor view as I was in the seating up the other end, but a timely equaliser in stoppage time of the first half.
Second half we were the better team throughout. Ajala played the sort of game I've become used to with him. Hardworking, plenty of skill and creative. Briscoe ran his socks off. Cameron showed the odd glimpse of what we know he's got. We flowed well going forward. I think it was from Ajala's persistence and squaring of the ball that Cameron hit the post from; it bounced onto Flitney's back and Bowman put into an empty net. There was some pressure from Eastleigh, but I didn't get the feeling we were going to let this one slip. We were, quite simply, better than them.
Rice 6.5 (came out a bit more) Pearce 6 (he's a centre back. But did alright) MacDonald 7.5 (aggressively good) Gueguen 7 (like him) Ives 5.5 (better gong forward than defensively today) Ajala 8 (my MOTM) Young 6 (not overrun) Richards 6.5 (good tackling. Poor distribution at times) Chapell 7/Cameron 7 (flashes of what we like) Briscoe 7 (decent) Bowman 8 (worked his nuts off. Got his reward)
I'd been to Eastleigh for a Conference South game four or five years ago. Then I remember it as a tidy enough venue for that level of football. I sat in the main stand that day and had a smashing elevated view of the match.
No such luck yesterday. The stand is actually rather small and most seats are taken by season ticket holders. The gate staff and stewards were keen - cheerfully so - to direct us to the "new stand" behind the goal "at no extra cost". As it happened there were a number of empty seats in the main stand but it seemed too much trouble pursuing them.
The new effort is cavernous and surprisingly large. I imagine it allows Eastleigh to easily meet the Conference Premier's seating requirements. I'm not a great fan of watching football from behind the goal and yesterday's experience was slightly denuded by many of the crowd being rather disengaged. I guess that's one of the consequences when a club tries to quickly build up support. Eastleigh are clearly aiming to attract younger supporters with a fair price strategy and activities. All very laudable but it may take a while to settle down.
Another thing that hasn't quite caught up with Eastleigh's rapid rise is access to the ground. In theory it's ideal; close to both the motorway and Southampton Airport railway station. But, if you're walking, there are no pavements which wouldn't make it much fun after dark. The constant need to be observant unfortunately provides little opportunity to look at the one-handed clock on the nearby church. Nonetheless the rail travellers were comfortably back at the station by 5.20. I would have thought most would have considered it a decent enough away trip.