On a freezing cold night at The Silverlake Stadium, Eastleigh earned a point at home to league leaders Leyton Orient in a 1-1 draw in front of 1938 spectators with over 400 travelling fans.
There was a minute silence for all who lost their lives during the Leicester City helicopter tragedy over the weekend respectively.
Leyton Orient got off to the brighter of the starts as Josh Koroma won a corner after a run down the right wing as newly made Michael Green denied him with a block. The corner came to nothing but the visitors won a free kick moments later on the left wing however it was defended clear. Oscar Gobern was forced off the field with an injury after five minutes as Joe Jones replaced him for Eastleigh. Koroma did find the net for Leyton Orient after 8 minutes with a header but it was declared offside. Koroma was causing havoc and nearly found the net once again but his shot was blocked from range. Eastleigh did start to attack with Mark Yeates swinging in a ball from the left wing but it proved no worries for opposition keeper Dean Brill. With 15 minutes played Eastleigh were beginning to get into the game more as Ben Williamson had a shot on goal. The league leaders however won back to back corners shortly after but they didn’t prove to be too dangerous for Eastleigh keeper Max Stryjek. Craig Clay won Leyton Orient another corner as they were beginning to pile on the pressure with Charlie Lee heading towards goal but it was defended well. The visitors won a free kick just over midway through the first half but Andrew Boyce defended it away for The Spitfires.
The game began to fizzle out a little as it approached the half hour mark with no real clear chances from either side. Koroma darted down the right wing with little over ten minutes to go in the first half but he was dealt with by the Eastleigh defence. The Spitfires won a corner moments later and that corner cost the visitors. Yeates swung in a perfect ball for Josh Hare to get his head on it and find the net past Brill to put Eastleigh 1-0 up against the run of play but Ben Strevens’ men certainly didn’t care. That certainly put some juice into The Spitfires’ legs as Cavaghn Miley fired from distance but his shot went over the bar. Leyton Orient won a corner moments later however as James Dayton swung it in but it went out for a throwing. Keeper Brill took a free kick for Leyton from near the half way line as the visitors looked desperate to equalise before half time but his kick just went straight to the opposition keeper Stryjek. With two minutes awarded stoppage time in the first half, The Spitfires looked to counter attack and extend their lead before the break and they won a free kick just before the whistle as Miley came off injured. Yeates drilled a powerful shot from the free kick into Brill as the half finished 1-0 Eastleigh against the league leaders.
Eastleigh attacked straight from the whistle in the second half as Jones sent a glancing header just wide. The visitors won a free kick near the halfway line moments later but it was defended away. Joni McAnuff looked dangerous for Leyton Orient as The Spitfires looked to protect their one goal lead. Macauley Brown won the visitors a free kick just over the 50 minutes mark which was taken by McAnuff but the Eastleigh wall blocked it. James Dayton made a darting run through the middle for Leyton Orient but he was soon stopped with some good defending. Eastleigh were attacking again as goalscorer Hare put a low ball for Jones but his shot went just narrowly wide.
Clay put in a dangerous ball for Leyton Orient just over the hour mark but Stryjek was on hand to deal with it. The visitors piled on the pressure as Bonne found the net for Leyton Orient and made it 1-1 on 65th minute much to the jubilation of the visiting dugout and fans. The Spitfires responded with a corner moments later, Paul McCallum went close with a header but it was pulled back for a foul. Bonne coupled doubled his tally with a free header but he missed the target. Leyton Orient won s free kick with little over 15 minutes to go but McAnuff’s shot was blocked by the wall. Lee had a shot from distance for Leyton Orient moments later his effort went well wide.
McCallum had a shot on goal for Eastleigh with just ten minutes to go but the pressure got to him from the defence and his shot missed the target. There was a hand ball and penalty appeal for Eastleigh when Yeates done well down the left flank but referee James Oldham gave away a free kick the other away. Matt Harold replaced Dayton for the visitors with 8 minutes to go as they pressed for a winner. And they soon won a corner which was cleared from Stryjek after s close range effort. Chris Zebroski came on for Miley as The Spitfires made an attacking substitution to look to grab a winner themselves. It didn’t take long before Zebroski got into the game with a dink cross into the box but it was cleared away. As it approached the 90th minute. Eastleigh won a corner which was taken by Yeates but it came to nothing as there was three minutes awarded stoppage time. Both teams were attacking for that vital match winning goal but it ended 1-1. Eastleigh take on another tough team this Saturday at home to Salford City in the Vanarama National League.