IAN Baird paid tribute to Eastleigh’s travelling band of supporters following Saturday’s comprehensive 5-0 victory at Clevedon Town in the FA Cup third qualifying round.

The Spitfires have come in for some criticism from a small minority of their own fans in recent weeks and hit the road to Somerset with something to prove after a lacklustre 1-0 defeat to Basingstoke in the Blue Square Bet South.

They rose to the challenge magnificently, blowing the Zamaretto South & West strugglers away with goals by Richard Graham, Danny Smith, Richard Gillespie, Jamie Slabber and Brett Williams to power into Monday’s fourth qualifying round draw.

“As I said before the game, our performance and the loss to Basingstoke put more pressure on us than we needed to have,” said Baird.

“But we had a long, hard chat during the week and, as usual with this group of players, they bounced back.

“Things can be taken out of perspective at times and it’s really just a case of three or four ‘fans’ who’ve been criticising us on the club forum “As always, the supporters who travelled with us down to Clevedon were brilliant, as they are for every away game.”

Full story in this week's Hampshire Chronicle