Ben Strevens’ Eastleigh beat Harrogate Town today 2-1 at The Silverlake Stadium as goals from Ben Williamson and second half substitute Cavaghn Miley proved to be enough for The Spitfires to earn all three points.
Eastleigh were without Ryan Cresswell who recently left the club and Callum Howe returned the Silverlake Stadium as he started for the visitors.
Harrogate took the lead within two minutes as winger Joe Leesley volleyed past Eastleigh’s Max Stryjek, in what likely to be the shot stopper’s last game for The Spitfires following his loan spell ending. The game settled for a while then as Eastleigh looked to get back in to the game quickly. Joe Jones gave away a free kick on the halfway line with a hand ball but the resulting kick came to nothing but a offside decision for Harrogate. Eastleigh did look to be more attacking with Josh Hare running down the right wing and placing in a great ball but the opposition defence dealt with it easily. Left back Michael Green done brilliantly for Eastleigh down the left flank but Harrogate keeper James Belshaw.
As it approached the 20th minute, the game started to quiet down a little with either teams having very little chances. Dominic Knowles caused the Eastleigh defence some panic as he cut through from the left wing but his low cross was defended away. Hare had a chance on goal moments later as the defender done a similar run but proved no worries. Eastleigh won a corner midway through the first half but Mark Yeates’ delivery was punched away by Belshaw. Lloyd Kerry had a shot on goal for Harrogate from distance however Stryjek was on hand to save. Moments later however Eastleigh equalised, some more superb work by Hare as the defender found Williamson with a low cross and the striker smashed it in the net after 27 minutes to make it 1-1. The Spitfires started to show some passion and flair as they won a corner on the 30th minute but it came to nothing. Eastleigh win a free kick moments later just past the halfway line which was taken by Yeates and was defended away. Jack Emmett had a golden chance for Harrogate as a low cross found his way but the resulting first time shot went wide. Yeates had a shot blocked moments later as it looked like Eastleigh wanted to ahead before the break and the striker did find the net moments later but the whistle already blew. A defensive error from Harrogate gave Paul McCallum a golden chance to go ahead but his strike from close range went way over. The Spitfires won a corner on 39 minutes but the kick missed everyone and went out for a goal kick. Yeates had a fantastic timed volley blocked for another corner which was taken short and resulted in a throwing. Harrogate won a free kick as it approached half time but it was defended well by The Spitfires’ defence. Eastleigh win a free kick on the stroke of half time as Yeates played it short but it didn’t come to anything. Eastleigh did win one final corner in stoppage time but it was headed away and finished 1-1 at half time despite one final effort from Yeates but it proved no worries for Belshaw.
It was a quiet opening five minutes in the second half with either team having any real chance on goal. Green won a corner for Eastleigh on 52 minutes as the match got back into action however it was a wasted chance with no one getting on the end of it. The Spitfires won a free kick however it came to nothing Reda Johnson couldn’t quite connect with his header.
With 30 minutes to go, both teams were matching each other in midfield as it looked like the match was destined for a draw. Harrogate’s looked through on goal however he fouled Green in the process with referee Will Finnie awarding a free kick. Harrogate were beginning to be the more attacking team midway through the second half but Eastleigh were weathering the storm. Harrogate made their substitution on the 69th minute as Kerry was replaced by Michael Woods. Yeates done well down the left wing has tried to put in a low ball but Belshaw was on hand to make a save. Eastleigh’s goalscorer Williamson was replaced by Miley as Andrew Boyce was replaced by Oscar Gobern as The Spitfires seemed to have looked to protect their draw. With ten minutes to go it began to go quiet however that soon stopped when second half substitute Miley bent in a great shot past Belshaw to make it 2-1 Eastleigh on the 82nd minute. Harrogate looked to try and find that desperate equaliser with a corner but it came to nothing much to the delight of the Eastleigh fans. The visitors were piling on the pressure on the 90th minute but Eastleigh done well defensively. Yeates got replaced by Jack McKnight who made his debut from Eastleigh after signing from Basingstoke.
McKnight nearly scored on his debut but Belshaw denied him for a corner in stoppage time which was taken short and came to nothing. With Eastleigh defending bravely late on the match finished 2-1 to Eastleigh.