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Eastleigh FC 2 Harriers 1

Date: 25-04-15gif Venue: Silverlake Stadiumgif att: 4024gif away fans: 148
Harriers see their early lead come to nothing

gif Report by Phil Lench
The Harriers ended their annus horibilis of a season today when they travelled down to Eastleigh hoping to put a mockers on the hosts hopes of making the play-offs.  The Spitfires, newly promoted into the Conference this season, had exceeded all expectations by making the cut in the first place and the only things standing in their way was a Harriers win and then to be overtaken by sixth place Macclesfield if they could manage a win at Torquay Utd.

Amazingly the Harriers took the lead in the very first minute through a mixture of nerves for the home side and a goal for Danny Wright that put into the net after rounding Ross Flitney, the Eastleigh keeper as he went for a loose ball outside his area, and slotting the ball home.  Usually he would have hesitated and looked for someone else to finish the move off but this time he did it all himself.  Don't worry, he didn't blot his copybook because he fell over on his way to goal but managed to slide the ball home with a spare foot as a defender rushed in to save their blushes.

Kevin Nicholson, in his swansong for the Harriers, went close to adding a second goal with a well taken free kick soon after but then instead of building on the goal we struggled to make any further headway.  Slowly Eastleigh came more and more into the game and that culminated in Craig McAllister sending a header just over the bar and then headed one across goal for Jack Midson to convert but he couldn't quite get to it.

Most of their chances were coming from distance though and these were falling Midsons and Jai Reasons way but Danny Lewis was confident in his handling and their efforts were no trouble to him.  Ben Strevens was another to test Lewis just before the break and again Danny produced a good save to deny him.

We went into the break with our single goal lead and it was never going to be enough considering that we hadn't got a sight of the Eastleigh goal in the previous thirty minutes.  Our cause wasn't helped with Jared Hodgkiss going off injured mid way through the half to be replaced by Jake Green.
  HT: 0 - 1
As expected for the second half the Eastleigh manager Richard Hill had got his side fired up and they were soon to show that they were in the play-offs for a reason and not as makeweights.  The former Harriers star James Constable saw a powerful header saved well by Lewis and that was just the first of many warning shots across the Harriers bows.

We had a Danny Wright attempt on goal saved by a defender after Lee Hughes played him in and he lifted the ball over the keeper.  That was just a minor irritation to Eastleigh as they went in search of a winning goal.

That goal came six minutes later when we failed to deal with a corner and the ball ended up being scrambled over the line by the former Hereford player Craig Stanley as Lewis tried, without luck, to stop it going in.  Just before the second goal we made two of our usual strange substitutions by taking a striker off for a midfielder.  Lee Hughes was sacrificed for Ahmed Obeng and then soon after Nat Kelly, a defender, came on for Luke Maxwell, a midfielder.  We had seemed to set our stall out after the first goal went in by settling for a draw but instead ended up giving another goal away.

It was Constable who was to get the winning goal after first missing two chances that he should have scored from.  First he shot into the side netting and then he sent a header just wide.  No mistake was made with his third attempt though when Jai Reason hit the post and the rebound fell just right for 'Beano' to slot the ball home and move his side into fourth place and two play off games against Grimsby Town.

While the final stages of the season get underway without any further help from us we can now look forward to a couple of months of seeing what little we have left of a team being done away with in exchange for rookies and has beens.

Roll on August.  Can't wait.
  FT: 2 - 1

 Goals for Eastleigh: Stanley 54, Constable 74
 Goal for Harriers: Wright 1

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Eastleigh FC  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Flitney     Lewis  
Spence     Hodgkiss gif  
Partington     Nicholson  
Evans     Tunnicliffe  
Turley     Grimes  
Strevens     O'Keefe  
Midson     Byrne  
Stanley gif gif     Gittings  
Constable gif gif     Wright gif  
Reason     Maxwell gif  
McAllister gif     Hughes gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Beckwith     Green gif - 32
Howard gif - 72     Kelly gif - 62  
Pell     Digie  
Walker gif - 92     Reid  
Burton gif - 86     Obeng gif - 59  

Mr L Swabey

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