ALTRINCHAM (2) 3 EASTLEIGH (2) 3
played on Saturday, 13 September 2014, at 3pm
In the first half, Alty played some excellent football and twice took the lead but could not hold it on either occasion. A well worked goal, finished by Reeves, put them ahead after 11 minutes only for Reid to level within five minutes. Then a wonder goal, a fiercely hit volley by Griffin from Cavanagh's cross, made it 2-1 after 35 minutes, only for Eastleigh to equalise eight minutes later through Craig McAllister, following a move up the left.
Reeves headed Alty ahead again, after 65 minutes, following a cross from Griffin. But American midfielder Jai Reason curled home a third equalizer in the 79th minute of an entertaining game, marred for Alty by an injury to Reeves in the closing moments when he was fouled.
- 11 mins: Damian REEVES (ALTRINCHAM 1 Eastleigh 0)
- 16 mins: Paul REID (ALTRINCHAM 1 Eastleigh 1)
- 35 mins: Adam GRIFFIN (ALTRINCHAM 2 Eastleigh 1)
- 43 mins: Craig MCALLISTER (ALTRINCHAM 2 Eastleigh 2)
- 65 mins: Damian REEVES (ALTRINCHAM 3 Eastleigh 1)
- 16 mins: Jai REASON (ALTRINCHAM 3 Eastleigh 3)
REFEREE: Mr Darren England (Barnsley)
Altrincham continued to be without injured captain Shaun Densmore and Ryan Crowther, who had a bout of food poisoning. But Nicky Clee rejoined the squad after his injury absence. The only change from Tuesday's draw was on the bench where Clee displaced Mike Williams.
Eastleigh's squad comprised a catalogue of non-League stalwarts, featuring the likes of James Constable, Jack Midson, Jai Reason, Craig McAllister, Ben Strevens, Chris Todd, Yemi Odiubade and Stuart Fleetwood, who had all been attracted to the Southampton area.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks) 17. Dave Parton, 6. Scott Leather, 5. Gianluca Havern, 16. Tom Marshall, 3. Adam Griffin, 8. Simon Richman, 25. Peter Cavanagh (capt), 18. Sean Williams, 7. James Lawrie, 14. Kyle Perry, 10. Damian Reeves, Subs: 1. Stuart Coburn, 4. Jake Moult, 9. Steven Gillespie, 15. Greg Wilkinson, 11. Nicky Clee.
EASTLEIGH (Blue shirts and socks and white shorts) 1. Ross Flitney, 2. Daniel Spence, 17. Paul Reid (capt), 3. Michael Green, 4. Jamie Collins, 14. Ben Strevens, 12. Jack Midson, 10. Jai Reason, 11. Craig McAllister, 12. Jack Midson., 9. James Constable. Subs: 6. Chris Todd, 13. Stuart Fleetwood, 23. Matthew Fry, 24. Josh Helm, 7. Yemi Odubade.
This was Altrincham's first ever match against Eastleigh for whom this is their first season at national level.
Alty kicked off towards the Golf Road end but Jack Midson won Eastleigh a first-minute corner off Griffin on the visitors' right. There were no threats of an early goal, with Lawrie's 35 yarder, which went well over the bar, the only significant shot in the first four minutes.
From Marshall's long ball, Flitney dropped the ball under Reeves's pressure but the ball was cleared. Indeed, it was to prove a less than convincing performance from of the defence of one of the league's title favourites. After Leather and, then, Marshall had cleared their lines, Midson shot wildly off target before a Constable cross was headed wide by Midson, the former AFC Wimbledon man (9 mins).
Altrincham took an eleventh minute lead after Richman had done well to advance along the right byline. He fed Perry, who despite a challenge battled to get the ball inside to Sean Williams. The midfielder's threaded pass reached Reeves who completed what was an excellent move with a well-taken goal.
But it took Eastleigh barely five minutes to reply. From a Jai Reason freekick, 40 yards out, in a fairly central position, the American midfielder’s ball was nodded on and captain Paul Reid netted an equalizer (16 mins).
Undeterred, Reeves won a freekick from which Lawrie gained a freekick on the left. This led to a second corner through the efforts of Richman, who had started the game well. This time Lawrie's corner from the right produced a Marshall header which Flitney had to tip over the bar for another corner (19 mins).
Flitney now mis-punched but Eastleigh hacked clear as Havern tried a scissors kick shot. As Alty set the pace, Richman fed Lawrie, whose excellent cross was just cut out but produced another Altrincham corner on the right (21 mins). Alty continued to press but the next corner came at the other end when Reason won a flag-kick after an Eastleigh move up their left. There was then a significant stoppage as Spence was treated after a collision with Cavanagh in the Altrincham box (28 mins).
When play resumed a Williams miskick led to a Strevens 30-yarder, which cleared the bar (31 mins). After Reeves had forced a throw, Perry gained a corner at the byline left of goal. In the 35th minute Cavanagh sent across a deep cross from the right which reached Griffin at the back post. The left-back hammered a volley past Flitney for an early Goal of the Season contender; it was the full-back's first Altrincham goal in his 38th game for the club.
Next, a Leather cross won a corner on the right, as Altrincham looked good value for their lead. But when Constable's cross reached a stretching Midson, the latter's left-footed effort was sliced wide (40 mins). As half time approached Cavanagh dwelt on the ball near half way and lost possession. Eastleigh advanced up the left and a low cross was converted by McAllister, to make it 2-2 (43 mins).
The final minute of the three added on at the end of the first half witnessed Richman lift a chance over the bar from a Reeves feed. As the referee blew his whistle for the interval, Reeves nodded a Leather cross into the net which, of course, did not count. Altrincham had played very well but had not been able to hold their two leads for long enough to consolidate their advantage.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 EASTLEIGH 2|
Altrincham won an early corner, through Richman (47 mins). Two minutes later, as the Hampshire side counter-attacked, Lawrie tripped Collins and was booked (49 mins).
The referee ignored a push which flattened Lawrie before the hard-working Richman won a corner, taken by Lawrie but headed over the bar by Marshall (53 mins). Mr. England also opted not give a freekick when Richman was fouled on the front edge of the box. Eastleigh were now edging the game as Alty had not regained their first half tempo. But the visitors had not had a clear sight of goal before Marshall had to concede a corner from a McAllister cross from the right.
On the hour mark Clee replaced Williams, so Richman moved inside and Lawrie to the right flank. Now Reeves battled through several challenges into the box but his shot was saved (61 mins). Alty now took the lead for a third time. This goal's source was a superb 60-yard diagonal ball from right to left by Scott Leather which located Adam Griffin. The left back's excellent cross reached Reeves who headed home his seventh goal of the campaign to make it 3-2 (65 mins).
A half chance was wasted when the ball reached an unmarked Lawrie but he delayed his shot and the keeper saved comfortably (71 mins). After 73 minutes, Fleetwood replaced McAllister and Odubade came on for Midson, after which a Marshall header went out for a visitors' corner. Play continued to be end to end before an impressive Lawrie ball ran off Reeves to Flitney. Eastleigh now levelled for a third time as Reason scored with a curler from 20 yards after Eastleigh had got past Leather on Alty's right (79 mins).
Not content to settle for a draw, Havern got forward and was only just seen off from a smart Reeves flick inside the box (81 mins). After a Constable foul on Cavanagh, Lawrie's freekick was cleared before Lawrie hit a shot at the keeper. Four minutes from the end of normal time, off the ball, Green elbowed Perry in the chest in front of a linesman; he and the referee conferred but no action was taken other than a few words with both players.
When Reason caught goalkeeper Parton as he came out for a ball, the Eastleigh midfielder was booked (90+2 mins). In the second of the three added minutes, Reeves was clattered from behind by Evans, who escaped punishment other than a freekick, But Reeves had fallen badly and though he was standing he seemed unable to move and looked groggy. He had to be helped off the pitch, straight to the dressing room. Gillespie came on (90+4 mins). Altrincham won a corner when Clee's freekick went off a defender as Marshall closed in on goal. But from the corner, Marshall’s header was saved.
Altrincham had fully deserved their draw against a strong Eastleigh side whose attack looked superior to its defence. The point lifted Altrincham to 16th but, already, a four point gap separates them and the eight clubs below them, all part-time, from the rest of the more financially endowed division.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 EASTLEIGH 3|