Eastleigh Bounce Back

Tony Taggart appears to have lost his head as he fires in the 30 second opener

Eastleigh bounced back from the disappointment of the FA Cup last weekend by winning a second consecutive league match this afternoon by three goals to nil. Including cup games, Ian Baird’s side have scored 13 goals and conceded just 3 in their last four games with three clean sheets to boot.

The Spitfires couldn’t have got off to a better start against Boreham Wood with Baird’s side racing into the lead with just 30 seconds played. The game had barely kicked off when Richard Graham crossed from the left to find TONY TAGGART unmarked at the back post. The on-loan winger from Newport County headed goal wards from close range and made no mistake in beating the keeper.

After the dream start for Eastleigh, in the third and fourth minutes the visitors looked to hit back through their captain. Mario Noto drove a low shot across goal, which was deflected for a corner, before letting fly again moments later. This time Noto’s effort from just outside the area was dragged wide.

At the opposite end Chris Holland headed narrowly wide from a corner kick before Richard Graham’s run and shot resulted in a comfortable save for the Wood goalkeeper Ashlee Jones.

In the ninth minute, Eastleigh’s goal scorer Taggart threaded an inch perfect pass through to Jamie Slabber to the right of the penalty area. However, just as Slabber went to shoot, the Spitfire’s leading goal scorer was thwarted by a perfectly timed sliding challenge.

From the resulting corner kick, Eastleigh came even closer to doubling their lead from a header. Taggart’s pinpoint delivery was met by Holland where the towering centre back saw his effort clawed off the line and away from danger by Jones.

It wasn’t long before the Spitfires extended their advantage. With 16 minutes played, Eastleigh conjured up a fine goal assisted superbly by Jamie Slabber whose sublime ball over the top of the Boreham Wood defence created the goal-scoring opportunity. RICHARD GILLESPIE had made a great run in behind to meet the pass and round the move off with the end product it deserved. Gillespie left his marker behind before beating the keeper to the ball and finding the back of the net with a tidy finish.

In the 22nd minute, Gillespie started with the ball inside his own half before getting his head down and carrying the ball forward all the way into the opposition penalty area. The former Bashley hotshot then drew a save from Jones after his impressive run.

Three minutes later Sam Hurrell squeezed a shot from the left towards the bottom corner of Eastleigh’s goal where Jason Matthews had to be alert to make a smart stop low down at his near post.

On the half hour mark, the ball fell invitingly for Richard Gillespie 8-yards from goal but on this occasion Gilly blazed over the cross bar failing to get his head over the ball.

The remainder of the half saw chances few and far between with Taggart shooting straight at the keeper with a tame shot in the 34th minute before the game went into a lull.

In the closing stages of the first half, Gillespie and Warren Goodhind collided accidentally leaving Eastleigh with nine players on the pitch for a short space of time before returning to the field of play.

Lee Kersey headed high over the bar two minutes before the break, failing to trouble Matthews from a corner; before at the opposite end Anthony Riviere hit a speculative left-foot drive from 25-yards that was well caught by the keeper.

HALF TIME: Eastleigh 2-0 Boreham Wood

Into the second half, Eastleigh started well with Tony Taggart crossing from the right where Richard Graham was unfortunate to see his header cleared off the line. Seconds later, Taggart fired inches wide of the post as the hosts kept the pressure on their Blue Square South newcomer opponents.

Following successive corners, the Spitfires capitalised by extending their lead to three goals to effectively kill off the game, even if it was only the 54th minute. Boreham Wood just didn’t look like they had enough quality to hurt Eastleigh offensively to get back in the game. CHRIS HOLLAND in trademark fashion rose high above the crowd to head home his fourth goal of the season. The ball was powered towards goal and went in off the underside of the cross bar to take full advantage of another fine delivery into the danger zone from Taggart.

Two minutes shy of the hour David King glanced a header across the face of goal for the visitors but couldn’t get his effort on target.

Eastleigh then had an opportunity to put the game beyond all doubt when Taggart ran through on goal following Riviere’s neat through ball, but the winger’s attempt to the right of goal was parried. Richard Graham followed up and perhaps should have done better than firing harmlessly over.

Ian Baird made three substitutions over a period of ten minutes with the fit-again Peter Adeniyi back in action at home, along with Jamie Brown and Ross Bottomley both getting run outs for the remainder of the game.

The Spitfires created another chance in the 66th minute when Taggart set off on a strong run forward before unselfishly squaring the ball to Gillespie when the play opened up in front of goal. Gillespie allowed the ball to run a little too far wide before forcing a save out of Ashlee Jones.

As had been the case in the first half, the game dried up a little as the half wore on, but that was credit to Boreham Wood who refused to give in despite being outclassed, as Eastleigh may well have gone on to win by five or six.

Sam Hurrell saw a shot pushed away from goal by Matthews late in the game before Luke Garrard had an effort well charged down by Luke Byles two minutes from time.

The last of the action saw Richard Gillespie smash the ball into the roof of the net only to have his ‘goal’ ruled out by a refereeing decision to pull the play back for a foul on Jamie Brown. Playing the advantage would surely have been the correct cause of action, however Eastleigh had to settle for a free kick on the edge of the box which Taggart took and smashed straight into the wall of Boreham Wood defenders.

It was a convincing win for Eastleigh with three more points and a clean sheet on the board. Chris Holland was named as the sponsors man of the match, whilst their were further strong performances from Tony Taggart, Anthony Riviere and Danny Smith who all ran the show in the middle of the park.

FULL TIME: Eastleigh 3-0 Boreham Wood


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