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Eastleigh Boxing clever
EASTLEIGH made up Boxing Day ground on Skrill Conference South leaders Bromley with a 2-1 win at bottom club Dorchester Town.
But Richard Hill’s men were made to fight every inch of the way by the lowly Mapgies who handed on-loan Saints defender Fraser Colmer his debut at left-back.
While Bromley were being held 0-0 at home by Ebbsfleet United, second-placed Eastleigh got off to a flying start at the Avenue Stadium, seizing the lead through Ben Stevens midway through the first half and then doubling it courtesy of Jai Reason early in the second.
But Josh Wakefield hit back with a beauty for Dorchester on the hour and, although the Magpies rode their luck at times, they never gave up in their quest to wrestle a point off Richard Hill’s classy promotion hopefuls. Eastleigh showed their intent from the off and fashioned a decent chance inside 30 seconds when Yemi Odubade surged forward only to pull his shot wide.
All the early pressure came from the visitors and Stuart Fleetwood found the side netting of Alan Walker-Harris’ goal on eight minutes. The Spitfires then had two great chances in quick succession. First, Odubade’s close-range effort was deflected wide and, from the resulting corner, Chris Todd’s header was narrowly off target. Eastleigh’s pressure eventually told in the 21st minute when Craig McAllister flicked on a long ball for Strevens to fire home the opener.
Sam Lanahan could have equalised just before the half-hour, but he guided the ball the wrong side of the post following good work from Wakefield. But, that chance apart, it was all Eastleigh with Reason slicing wide from only ten yards out and Dorch’s Ryan Case putting in a timely block to deprive Glen Southam. Dorchester’s hopes of a quick second-half response were shattered within three minutes as Reason converted Dan Spence’s cross to make it 2-0 to the Spitfires.
But the hosts couldn’t be faulted for effort and, having survived further Eastleigh raids, they pulled a goal back when Wakefield cut in from the left and curled a beauty into Ross Flitney’s top corner.
The introduction of ex-Cherries, Winchester City (loan) and AFC Totton youngster Clive Makoni added more pace to Dorchester’s attack and Flitney had to charge out of his area on more than one occasion to intercept long balls over the top.
But Eastleigh still looked the side most likely to score again and it needed a smart save by Walker-Harris and a block from Colmer to prevent them stretching their advantage.
With Bromley drawing, the Spitfires are eight points off top spot with two games in hand ahead of tomorrow’s home test against seventh-placed Bath City.
Hill’s lofty troops are at home again on New Year’s Day, hosting the return fixture against Dorchester. Eastleigh: Flitney, Batt (Green 65), Spence, Strevens, Evans, Todd, Odubade, Southam, McAllister (Dillon 48), Reason (Beckwith 88), Fleetwood. Subs (not used): Smith, Davey.
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