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Date: 19-12-15 gif Venue: Silverlake Stadium gif att: 1862 gif away fans: 60 est
Harriers get nothing from Eastleigh

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers returned from Eastleigh with all that was expected.  Zero points.

With yet another new player recruited to the side Dave Hockaday decided to go with a change of formation in an effort to get a long overdue point, or three, away from home (our last one coming at Altrincham in October).  He bought Matt Young back into the starting eleven in the position occupied by Jared Hodgkiss who moved into midfield to replace the suspended Dino Fazlić and to give a more vocal presence to that area.  Luke Maxwell was pushed further up in the hope that his midfield attacking skills could be better utilised around the goal.

Coming in for his first start was Omari Patrick while on the bench was yet another new face.  Frenchman and former Beauvais midfielder Elton N'Gwatala has arrived at the club to become possibly the first of four French players due in come January.

To be honest the ploy of juggling the team around didn't work as expected with the Harriers doing well to hold Eastleigh back until almost half time when the former Harriers striker James Constable opened the scoring for his side.  Hope was given when Ben Whitfield pulled us level in the second half but then two more goals from the hosts put paid to any chance we had of coming home with an early Christmas gift.

It was Constable who was to have the first sight of goal when, in the twelfth minute, he broke through and fired narrowly over the bar from eighteen yards out from goal.  Three minutes later Dean Snedker made his usual excellent save when got a fingertip to Jack Midsons rising shot and flipped it over the bar.

Although we weren't getting much sight of goal we were still trying to create something but we were up against an equally strong defence that wasn't giving much away.  Our only real chance of the half came to Patrick but before he could let go the trigger the chance was blocked.  Minutes later the Spitfires opened the scoring when Constable was gifted too much sspace outside the area and needed no better invite to fire the ball, with speed, into the bottom right corner of the net.
  HT: 1 - 0
The second period started with a double sub for Harriers as Matt Barnes-Homer and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner came on for Gurjit Singh and James McQuilkin.  The move could have reaped an early reward when MBH and Patrick combined to attack the Eastleigh goal but a last ditch block by an Eastleigh defender kept Patricks shot from nestling in the back of the net.

A second chance for us came straight after too when this time Hodgkiss supplied Patrick with the ball and this time the wingers effort was better and forced the Eastleigh keeper Ross Flitney into a good save.  Flitney almost blotted his copy book soon after when he dropped a cross from MBH that was intended for the head of a Harriers player.  The ball dropped behind him and was on its way into the net when Michael Green appeared from nowhere to scoop the ball off the line.

Soon after that we were given hope when once again Ben Whitfield came to the Harriers rescue with another crucial goal.  Barnes-Homer - trying a bit harder this week - chased a loose ball down and squared it for the on loan Bournemouth youngster to drive the ball into the net.  That faint glimmer of hope appeared but sadly only for a short while.

It took a while for the hosts to gather themselves but finally they did when Lee Cook surged through the Harriers defence to supply Andy Drury with a slide rule pass and allow him to finish the move off beyond the reach of Snedker.

Hockaday bought on N'Gwatala for Maxwell soon after in an effort to get that goal back and we could have when Whitfield saw his shot rebound off the post with the keeper beaten and then fall perfectly for ZFA to bury the ball only for a dubious offside decision to then rule it out.  Instead Eastleigh increased their lead further when Cook finished all hopes we had by scoring their third goal five minutes from time.  James Constable crossed the ball from deep to be cleared away but only as far as the edge of the area where Cook was waiting to smash the ball into top of the net.

So, as expected, the Harriers start the festive season off with a defeat and probably the same results to come against Cheltenham and Forest Green.  At least with this better showing today, compared to last week at Stourbridge, we might hopefully get something from nothing.
  FT: 3 - 1

 Goals for Eastleigh: Constable 42, Drury 72, Cook 85
 Goal for Harriers: Whitfield 60

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Eastleigh FC  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Flitney     Snedker  
Partington     Young  
Green     Francis-Angol  
Evans     Hodgkiss  
Drury gif     Langmead  
Reid     Howkins  
Cook gif     McQuilkin gif  
Payne     Maxwell gif  
Constable gif     Singh gif  
Reason gif     Patrick  
Midson gif     Whitfield gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Poke     Brown  
Lafayette gif - 76     Rowe-Turner gif - 46  
Strevens     Barnes-Homer gif - 46  
Fanimo gif - 88     N'Gwatala gif - 78  
Atkinson     Jones  

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