Spitfires reach play-offs with victory

Ben Strevens equalises for Eastleigh on Saturday (photo by Paul Paxford)

Ben Strevens equalises for Eastleigh on Saturday (photo by Paul Paxford)

Eastleigh have finally secured their spot in the Vanarama Conference play-offs as Hill’s men fought back to win 2-1 on Saturday.

A bumper crowd of 4,024 saw Eastleigh see off Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 at the Silverlake Stadium meaning they incredibly finished fourth in their début season in the top tier of non-league football.

Danny Wright got Kidderminster off to flier after less than a minute as the visitors went into the break with a one goal deficit.

Second half goals from Ben Strevens

and James Constable ensured the Spitfires that all important play-off spot a Hill’s men look ahead to their next big fixture.

The Spitfires take on Grimsby Town twice over next week  as Eastleigh will enter new territory once again this season.

Eastleigh are potentially only two games away from finishing at Wembley Stadium as they seek promotion to the Football League for the first ever time.

The Spitfires play the first of the two legged fixture this Thursday at the Silverlake Stadium (7.45pm kick off) as they then travel to Grimsby on the following Sunday (3.30pm kick off) – both ties will shown live on BT Sport.

A match preview of the game can be found below.
Previous meeting: The last time these two teams met was just over a month ago as Grimsby came out on top in front of their home fans. Hill’s men travelled to Lincolnshire at Blundell Park in front of a bumper crowd of 4,034.
It was the hosts that got off to a perfect start as former Havant & Waterlooville striker Ollie Palmer netted for Grimsby after just 13 minutes.
Grimsby’s top goal scorer Lenell John-Lewis then doubled the host’s lead with just ten minutes to go that essentially killed the game off.
Eastleigh’s second half substitute veteran striker Deon Burton got sent off late on despite defender Jamie Turley headed in a late consolation goal for the Spitfires.
The last time both teams met at the Silverlake Stadium was back in January this year at in front of 1,515 spectators and it was Grimsby that were on top that game in a narrow victory for the Mariners.
Palmer got the only goal of the game late in the first half earning Paul Hurst’s men all three points.
Opposition’s history: Formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham, the Mariners have played at their ground Blundell Park since 1898 of which holds a capacity 9,052.
The club is the most successful of the three professional league clubs being the only one to play top-flight football and reach the semi final of the FA Cup.
Notable former managers include Bill Shankley who went on to manage Liverpool and Lawrie McMenemy who won the FA Cup with Southampton in 1976.
Alan Buckley is the club’s most successful manager who has had three spells as manager between 1988 and 2008, guiding the club to three promotions and two appearances at Wembley Stadium.
In 2008 Buckley took Grimsby to the capital again, but lost out to MK Dons in the final of the Football League Trophy.
Opposition’s manager: Former Rotherham United legend Paul Hurst is fairly new to management having only started in 2008 taking over Illkeston Town.
The former left back then managed Boston United before being offered the job at Grimsby Town in 2011.
Hurst took Grimsby to the 2012/2013 FA Trophy final at Wembley only to be beaten on penalties after drawing 1-1 with Wrexham.
Opposition’s form: The Mariners finished 3rd in the league this season and finished with a home victory against Aldershot Town.
Ross Hannah bagged a brace in the first half as Jon-Paul Pitman netted in the second half to kill the game off.
Aldershot got on back late on however the match finished 3-1 to Grimsby as Hurst’s men have only been defeated once in their last ten games.
Top goalscorer: Lenell John-Lewis is currently Grimsby’s top goalscorer this season. The former Bury and Lincoln City striker has netted 16 goals.
Travel info for Eastleigh fans: There is a supporters coach for the second away leg to Grimsby and supporters can book up by calling 07780858529 or 02380613361 between the hours of 9am – 5pm.