Eastleigh 3-1 Truro CityThe Silverlake Stadium | Saturday 25 February
Written by Alex O'Loughlin
Eastleigh bounced back from defeat at Salisbury in midweek to claim all three points at the Silverlake, overcoming Truro City 3-1 as they extend their home unbeaten run to nine games.
The Spitfires came into the match having never beaten a Cornish side, but were soon relieved of that stat thanks partly to a brace from on loan striker Bradley Bubb.
The Aldershot loanee struck either side of half-time to catapult Eastleigh up to sixth in the Blue Square Bet South, nine points off of the play-off places.
Bubb’s first strike came quarter of an hour into the match after excellent work down the left flank by Damian Scannell, who after jinking and jerking, delivered a curling cross to the back post which the striker headed home emphatically to give the Spitfires the lead.
However, Bubb had to wait until the 87th minute to get his second of the game and it came to great relief of the Eastleigh fans as it made it 3-1 to the hosts, putting to bed any hopes of a Truro comeback after they battled hard in the second period to reduce an initial 2-0 halftime deficit.
The game began in controversial style when just 3 minutes into the match Truro winger Les Afful was seemingly hauled to the ground by Mitchell Nelson inside the box, sparking frantic appeals from both players and coaching staff alike, only for the referee to wave away their appeals.
It was a rather uneventful opening ten minutes, but that could have been different had Bubb managed to latch onto Jamie Slabber’s cross which just evaded the front man.
But Bubb had greater success five minutes later when he put Eastleigh 1-0 up from Scannell’s cross, scoring his eighth goal since joining the club on loan.
Both Scannell and Bubb were causing the City defence problems with both players going close to doubling Eastleigh’s lead, with Scannell’s rasping effort being deflected wide and Bubb’s rounding of the goalkeeper resulting in a tame shot from a tight angle.
But their lead was soon doubled when just past the twenty minute mark Jamie Brown slotted home, tucking in Mitchell Nelson’s low cross after the full-back had surged into the penalty area.
It was all one way from then on in and it could and perhaps should have been 3-0 at the break, only for Scannell to spurn a glorious chance after some intricate play between himself and Danny Smith, but Eastleigh were well worth their 2-0 lead at half time.
Truro were out on the pitch five minutes before the second half was due to start and Lee Holmes had obviously given his side a few choice words, as his side began the second half in dominant fashion.
The busy Les Afful almost embarrassed home keeper Jack Dovey when his seemingly harmless half volley was dropped by the Southampton youngster, only for the goalkeeper to recover and pounce on the ball as veteran Barry Hayles lurked.
Having not lost at home in the previous eight fixtures you could perhaps forgive Eastleigh for being slightly complacent, but Andy Watkins almost made them panic as his shot from ten yards flew just over the top of the bar as the pressure began to mount on the Spitfires.
Eventually that pressure told and Truro grabbed a goal back through captain Jake Ash who latched on to 6’ 7” defender Arron Pugh’s flick on to stab past Dovey and into the net.
Now just trailing by a single goal City upped their tempo yet again, as they began to encamp themselves in the Eastleigh half as the home side struggled to deal with the tenacity shown by their opposition.
As the clock ran down and the Eastleigh fans began to fear for their leading position their worries were soothed by the impressive Bubb, who after latching on a through ball composed himself to slot past keeper Oliver Chenoweth, scoring his ninth goal in nine games for the club making it 3-1 and guaranteeing all three points were going to Eastleigh.
With just moments remaining Bubb could have completed his hat-trick when he found himself again one-on-one with Chenoweth, only this time his shot was more erratic and clattered off the advertising hoardings next to the goal.
Eastleigh played out the remaining few minutes to claim all three points as they got their hunt for a play-off place back on track, but Ian Baird remained coy on their ambitions stating “to go by an old football adage we’ll take each game as it comes.”