Skip to main content

Report: Chairboys Too Strong for Spitfires

Tuesday 9th July 2013


Report by Paul McNamara

EASTLEIGH: Flitney, Spence, Green, Evans. Beckwith (c), Todd, Scannell, Collins, Odubade, Strevens. Smith. Substitutes: Southam, Dovey, McAllister, Reason, Wilson, Rose, Ross, Fountain. Not used: Gray, Robinson.

WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Ingram, Arnold, Hamilton, Fletcher, Hause, Kretschmar, Cowan-Hall, Lewis (c), Morgan, Morais, Wood. Substitutes: Kewley-Graham, Horlock, Stewart, McCoy, Dunne, Spring, Paul Pittman, Kuffour, Johnson.

The extra work already in the legs of the Silverlake’s League Two visitors was readily evident on Eastleigh’s return to action after the summer break. There was, nevertheless, enough in patches of the home team’s performance to provide some early cheer writes Paul McNamara.

While the Spitfires only began their pre-season work last Monday, Wycombe’s preparation is further advanced due to the Football League’s common sense decision to begin their campaign a full two weeks before their Conference South counterparts will get going.

The Chairboys benefited from their extra sharpness as early as the 4th minute when, after Dean Beckwith was caught beneath a searching ball delivered by Kortney Hause from deep on the visitors’ left, Dean Morgan was free to take possession and attempt to drift past Ross Flitney. 

The forward stumbled over Flitney’s outstretched arms, before re-composing and hitting the resultant penalty, right-footed, sweetly into the roof of the net.

Despite the opening 20 minutes being the period in which Wycombe’s edge was most prominent, the Spitfires still managed to fashion their own chances on goal.

Yemi Odubade, making his first appearance at the Silverlake, seized on Hause’s hesitancy under Flitney’s forward punt, and bustled his way in on goal, only to fire too close to Matt Ingram.

Of Richard Hill’s men, Ben Strevens was showing up best early on, his clever movement –particularly when dropping to link play – and use of the ball, evidence of years of Football League experience. When the summer recruit from Dagenham & Redbridge was bundled over to the right of the visitors’ area, Will Evans – brought in from Hereford United – flung in a well struck dead-ball which just evaded a cluster of white shirts at the far post.

Jamie Collins – another debutant, operating in the centre of the park – looked to have been impeded as he sought to meet Evans’ delivery but, in a pre-cursor for the rest of his night, the busy referee waved away home protests, and spoke to Collins for good measure.

On the quarter-hour mark, Flitney was called on to make the first stop of his 45 minutes on the pitch – the ‘keeper dealt with everything thrown at him, penalty aside, although in truth, he would have expected to be equal to anything he faced.

The ‘keeper’s first save came after the Chairboys skipper, Stuart Lewis, stole in front of Evans and ran at the Spitfires’ rear-guard, before switching play right, into the path of Junior Morais. The young Jamaican’s drilled low effort was parried away by Flitney, before Michael Green saw out the danger.

Wycombe’s extra time spent working with the ball at their feet showed in one particular exchange on the right involving Nick Arnold, Max Kretzschmar, Lewis, and Morais, which featured the slick one and two touch football, and fleet of foot, which is borne of hours on the training ground.

Chris Todd’s positioning and judgement suffered no adverse reaction to his time off, and he made a vital block to cut-out Morgan’s low pass, struck from deep in the Eastleigh half, which, without the centre-half’s intervention would have freed the former Woking forward, Paris Cowan-Hall, for a clear run on Flitney’s goal.

Todd’s savvy was utilised more than once, on a night when his side had to contend with an energetic and intelligent Wycombe midfield, allied to their four-pronged mix of pace and – through Morgan – power, in attack.

As the evening’s action evolved it was becoming apparent to every one of the 150 devoted souls inside the Silverlake, that Richard Hill has a serious asset on his hands with the presence of the graceful Evans.

The 21 year-old’s vision and first time passing caught the eye – one glorious ball, hit from a central area out left to Danny Smith, (a pre-season trialist) will linger in the memory. That moment was preceded by a fine exhibition of hold-up play from the deep-lying Strevens, who, with his back to goal, held of three snapping visiting tackles before clipping a tidy ball into the path of the returning Dan Spence.

When Evans swept an earlier ball wide to Damian Scannell, the winger hit a deep cross, only to look up and see that Odubade, Strevens, and Smith, had all made for the near-post.

Todd did err in the 24th minute, when he was outwitted on the dead-ball line by Kretzschmar. The subsequent cross was headed past Flitney’s right-hand upright by Morais.

Soon after, Lewis picked out the excellent Kretzschmar’s forward run. The teenager, who bears an uncanny resemblance to an adolescent Luis Suarez, was afforded far too much time in the Spitfires’ box, as he gathered possession and struck his shot too high to trouble Flitney.

Kretzschmar’s rushed finish was incongruous with a performance which, although not quite reaching the heights of his Uruguayan double, was extremely polished. His progress will be fascinating to observe.

Beckwith was struggling to find his match legs, but did well to halt a move which began with an inspired burst from the back by Tom Fletcher who, after swapping passes with Kretzschmar, displayed a refreshing willingness to continue his gallop forward. After Eastleigh’s starting captain for the night had stepped in, Evans and Spence showcased their respective sure touches and confidence to play neatly out of defence.

As Richard Hill correctly pointed out when reflecting on the evening’s events, the desired cohesive football and shape to his team will come with time spent on the training pitch. This game was, in effect, the Spitfires’ fifth session of their pre-season, with their work to date not yet focusing on patterns of play, nor anything technical or tactical.

The move which began with the composure of Evans and Spence concluded with Green earning a corner on the left. Evans’ flag-kick fizzed across the six-yard box without a crucial touch being applied.

The ex-Hereford man’s set-piece delivery was unerringly reliable all night, – another string to the bow of the new recruit, to go with his inherent knowledge of when to press or sit, his range of passing, and strength on the ball – and is a boon for a team which carelessly wasted too many similar promising situations last season.

With half-time approaching, Morais jinked inside Green, and provided Cowan-Hall with the chance to drill a fierce effort on goal, which Flitney beat away from in front of his face.

Morgan, coming short again, collected a ball from Lewis, who had tricked his way beyond Evans, and sent an audacious chip on target which Flitney was on-guard to collect.

After Collins had left his mark on a wailing Cowan-Hall, Kretzschmar’s precise radar was to the fore again when he floated a pass left to Morais, who had pulled off Todd’s shoulder. The striker spun and snapped in an effort from 18 yards which required Flitney to dive away to his left and palm clear.

The second-half opened with the newly introduced Glen Southam introducing himself to the fold by upending Morais. What followed from Eastleigh’s captain was a typically high-octane and competitive display. He approached his work with an appetite no less voracious than if he were involved in an end-of-season promotion tussle.

The next significant action saw one of Wycombe’s plethora of half-time substitutes, the experienced Matt Spring, stride onto a smart slide-rule pass into the heart of the Spitfires’ back-line, and slip a cute finish between the legs of Jack Dovey- on for Flitney.

Southam was integral to his side’s attempts to make a swift reply. The midfielder, who was stationed alongside Collins with Evans dropping into the centre of defence, completed one-two’s with both Collins and Sam Wilson, before finding Jai Reason, whose low shot was easy for Ingram to gather.

A little more fluidity was creeping into the home team’s game and, when Todd abruptly ended Jo Kuffour’s lively run, Southam took over and drove forward before finding Wilson in his right-wing berth. The attacker, back at the Silverlake after a year away, marginally over-hit his forward ball in search of the marauding Reason.

When Evans had crashed a free-kick into the Chariboys wall, he needed every extra yard afforded him by his lengthy stride to chase back and execute a perfect tackle on the breaking Kuffour. Prior to his hasty retreat, Evans left a foot on an opposition player, his second such indiscretion of the night. That is one habit he’ll need to lose, with eager Conference South officials determinedly seeking out the merest of offences.

Spence’s recovery powers were put to the test when he and Todd were discomfited by a high ball sent in their direction, and left Kretzschmar momentarily alone with only Dovey between him and the goal. As the midfielder shaped to strike though, Spence slid in and nicked possession from his toe.

With a little over 25 minutes to play, Wilson dropped a pass into the forward surge of Reason but, in a further example of the visitors’ match sharpness, Eastleigh’s playmaker was crowded out as soon as he took control of the ball.

Evans applied the gloss to his personal showing when he drove powerfully out from the back in the manner of a young Rio Ferdinand and, with a slew of Wycombe bodies left in his wake, slipped an intelligent pass out to his left.

The visitors were close to extending their lead when Marvin McCoy’s right-sided cross was met by the head of Jon-Paul Pittman, whose looping header was pushed out by Dovey. The ball landed at the feet of Kretzschmar, who was flagged offside.

Eastleigh closed the game with sporadic bursts of more flowing play. Reason hit one terrific pass firmly into Southam’s feet at the edge of the visitors’ box. The ex-Barnet man moved play on to Craig McAllister who, in turn, found Romone Rose (another trialist) wide on the right. Rose’s fizzing delivery flashed across goal.

Another Rose delivery was headed clear, after Reason and Southam had combined to produce an opening, before Green, Wilson, and Reason, linked astutely. When the ball arrived with Rose he opted to shoot – his dig was comfortably blocked -, a decision which visibly irked Southam whose lung-busting forward charge was rendered futile.

Green – now paired with Evans in the middle of defence – marred what had been a solid and characteristically defensively sound showing, when he was robbed on the by-line by Kuffour, who instantly looked up and picked out the lurking Pittman to sweep home Wycombe’s third and final goal.

After Southam had been booked for dissent – a yellow card which came moments after Richard Hill was spoken to by an increasingly baffling referee, whose pernickety nature was frustrating both dug-outs in equal measure – there remained time for one more Spitfires’ scoring opportunity.

Southam picked up McAllister’s smart flick and guided a ball into the night’s third home trialist, Jack Ross, who, from an inside left-position, struck a right-footed effort awakwardly out of his feet which Charlie Horlock pushed away.

Richard Hill acknowledged that there were elements of his side’s performance that he would be disappointed to see again four games from now. The manager’s predominant view though, was that this was a valuable early pre-season exercise, and an opportunity to assess various personnel and formations which will not present itself as the campaign opener draws closer.

A good workout then, against league opposition who are primed to start their serious work in three-and-a-half weeks’ time


Popular posts from this blog

Eastleigh to sign McCallum

Eastleigh have agreed terms with 23-year-old Leyton Orient striker Paul McCallum.

McCallum will join the Spitfires on a two-year deal and link up with the club for the beginning of pre-season next month when his Orient contract expires.
Paul McCallum signed a two-year deal with Leyton Orient in June 2015 following his release from West Ham United.

The 6 ft 3" forward started his career at Dulwich Hamlet and made his first team debut for the club at the age of 17 in October 2010.

He played an integral role for the youth team that season as they reached the third round of the FA Youth Cup where they faced Newcastle United having defeated Yeovil Town in the previous round.

His performances attracted interest from a number of Premier League sides and on January 31 2011, McCallum made the decision to sign a professional contract with West Ham United.

McCallum was unable to make the breakthrough at West Ham however during his three years at the club as he was loaned out on several occa…

Danny Hollands signs for Eastleigh

Eastleigh have announced the signing of 31-year-old former Portsmouth and Bournemouth midfielder Danny Hollands. Danny will join the Spitfires once his current contract with Crewe Alexandra expires.

Hollands wanted to move back into the area where he lives with his wife and a triplet set of five-year-old girls.

Hollands started his career at Hampton & Richmond Borough before moving on to Chelsea, Torquay United (10/0), AFC Bournemouth (193/24), Charlton Athletic (57/7), Swindon Town (10/2) and Gillingham (17/1).

Danny becomes Eastleigh's second summer signing having already signed striker Paul McCallum earlier this week.
Eastleigh have today agreed to sign midfielder Danny Hollands, once his current contract with Crewe Alexandra expires. — Eastleigh FC (@EastleighFC) May 25, 2017
Eastleigh announce former Bournemouth midfielder as their second summer signing EASTLEIGH have confirmed Danny Hollands as their second summer signing. The experienced former Portsmouth and AFC Bournem…

Thank you EDOF

Eastleigh Football Club can announce the resignation of Director of Football David Malone, who is standing down with immediate effect.
Dave has been an integral part of the Spitfires since becoming Director of Football in May 2006, but due to personal reasons he cannot continue his valued commitment to the club.

Posting on the EFC fans forum Dave says “I would like to thank everybody associated with Eastleigh Football Club for allowing me the privilege of sharing so many positive experiences over the past 6 years - and I truly wish the Club every future success”.

Dave who was previously a Director at Winchester City, Salisbury City & Bashley FC has been actively involved in every aspect of the Club and instrumental in Eastleigh’s on the pitch progress. Off field he was an influence in attracting Bridle Insurance to the Club. Simply put, without Dave’s hard work and efforts Eastleigh would not be at our present level within the higher echelons of Non League F…

5* Eastleigh breeze to Bromley win - Mandron hits a hat-trick

By Jamie Montigue
Eastleigh made it two wins in three days over the Bank Holiday weekend with a stunning five-goal victory at Bromley.
Ronnie Moore's side continued where they left off having sealed a 2-0 home win over Solihull Moors in his first game in charge on Saturday.
The Spitfires boss made two changes to his side. Reda Johnson, who scored with a towering header on his debut, was replaced by Adam Dugdale. James Constable also came into the starting line-up in place of Ryan Bird.
Mikael Mandron hit a fine hat-trick as he put Eastleigh two-goals to the good at half-time and added his third, Eastleigh's fourth, after Jake Howells had made it 3-0 after the break.

Adam Dawson netted a fifth for the rampant Spitfires to complete the rout. Dawson also assisted another two goals in the comprehensive victory.
Bromley were reduced to ten men in the 37th minute when Connor Dymond was penalised for a high challenge on Jason Taylor. Eastleigh were already 2-0 ahead at this point …

Squad update

Players under contract for the 2017/18 Season –

Mark Childs
Graham Stack
Adam Dugdale
Chinua Cole
Ross Stearn
Sam Togwell
Gavin Hoyte
Ryan Cresswell
Reda Johnson
Jason Taylor
Ayo Obileye
Tom Bearwish


James Constable, Michael Green and Craig McAllister have been offered new contracts.

Sam Matthews, Ben Close, Hakeem Odoffin, Joshua Barnes and Nick Hall have all returned to their parent clubs following the expiry of their loan agreements.

David Pipe, Ryan Burge, Matt Tubbs, Jack Smith, Jack Masterton, Connor Essam and Scott Wilson have been released.

Ben Strevens and Paul Reid have been retained for next season in coaching and scouting roles respectively.
Player Update -

➡ — Eastleigh FC (@EastleighFC) May 5, 2017
Constable, McAllister & Green have been offered new @eastleighfc contracts - Pipe, Burge, Tubbs, Essam & Wilson among the players released — BBC Solent Sport (@solentsport) May 5, 2017
Youngsters Jack S…