24 April 2013

Battling Truro unable to deny Eastleigh a play-offs place

By Rhod Mitchell West Briton LINK

(and special additional comments by Ivor Marshall aka Mountaineer)

Eastleigh 3 Truro City 1

A performance full of pride by City was not enough to prevent Eastleigh from completing the league double over the visitors and gain the win which clinched them a place in the end of season Blue Square South play-offs.

Travelling with just 13 fit players already relegated City kept going until the end before a crowd of more than 1,300, attracted by the offer of free entrance to the Silverlake Stadium.

While the home side deserved the win on the night, City did not throw in the towel in their penultimate game at this level.
Manager Lee Hodges made one change from the team that drew with Farnborough on Saturday, with Ben Williams replacing Martin Watts (knee) at left back.
Andy Watkins (ankle) returned to the bench though was not fit enough to come on.

It was also the 300th appearance for skipper Jake Ash, although his evening ended early after taking an accidental blow to the eye when contesting a header.

City had to be be thankful to keeper Paul Hider early on when he made a great save to keep out a Craig McAllister penalty after Paul Kendall was adjudged to have fouled Dale Binns.

But the Hampshire side did go ahead after 28 minutes with a superb strike by captain Glen Southam gave Hider no chance.

However, City hit back with an equaliser five minutes before the break when Barry Hayles intercepted a back pass and walked the ball into the net.

After the interval City had to ride their luck at times, as Eastleigh pushed hard to regain the lead, and it was not until 70 minutes they went 2-1 up when City failed to clear a free-kick and Damian Scammell made it 2-1.

Eight minutes later McAllister made the game safe, heading home a cross from Andy Forbes.

Although tired in the closing stages City refused to crumble and manager Lee Hodges was full of praise for his squad.

He said: "I was really pleased. We had to defend for long periods but we gave it a right go and stuck to our task."

City complete a troubled season at Tonbridge Angels on Saturday with the Kent side now safe from relegation after tonight's results.

They will be without Paul Kendall who starts a three match ban.

City: Hider; Washburn, Kendall, Ash (capt) (Watts 73), Williams; Cooke, Broad (Davey 86), Cooke, Copp; Hayles, Wright. Sub (not used): Watkins.
Crowd: 1320.

Mountaineer said:

Patched up like dads army city did themselves proud, players on the pitch carrying injuries and those replacing them also members of the limping brigade, except for young Connor Davey who was full of beans.

Martin Watts came on late replacing injured Joe Broad, Ben Williams played the whole game, Jake has a closed right eye, I hope he can see in time for Saturday. Joe Broad did 80 minutes tonight, after the game he said something like "Have to do 90 minutes on Saturday", that summed it up, the lads are regularly playing through the pain barrier.

For 70 minutes we were in the game, as normal the game changes when the opposition brings on fresh legs and tonight was no exception. Spider Hider did well getting down to the penalty, diving left and stopping it just inside the upright, I said at the game, it is a pity he can't spin an invisible web to stop the ball to keep clean sheets.

Eastleigh 3 (Southam 28, Scannell 70, McAllister 78 )

Truro City 1 (Hayles 40)

Att 1320
Even so at times we were heard offering our support from the sidelines.
Free entry meant it was their biggest attendance of the season and an opportunity for us to sing, you are only here to see Truro.

Another game despite the result where the lads gave us everything.