Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Sat 25 Oct 14 at 17:59 PM


Harriers slumped to a dismal defeat at home to Eastleigh; stumbling out of the FA Cup before their journey could even begin.

A brilliant finish early in the first half by Jai Reason was enough to send the Spitfires into the First Round Proper for only the second time in their history as Harriers failed to find a response.

The hosts had a legitimate penalty appeal turned down, while Chey Dunkley was flagged offside after finding the net, but it was a sub-standard performance overall.

Gary Whild had made three changes to his starting line-up following last week’s defeat at FC Halifax Town.

Kyle Storer, who was suspended for the clash with the Shaymen, returned to captain the side in the continued absence of Josh Gowling.

Meanwhile, Josh O’Keefe made his first start of the season and Reece Styche also earned a starting role after spending the last three games on the bench.

Jack Byrne was unable to feature after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Halifax, while Aman Verma and Nathan Blissett settled as substitutes.

Eastleigh boss Richard Hill, on the other hand, left his side unchanged for the third time in a row.

The Spitfires stunned Aggborough after 14 minutes with a goal out of nowhere to take the lead.

As Eastleigh began to mount an attack, Reason picked up the ball just outside the penalty area as the visitors looked to continue their move.

From nothing, the midfielder found space to unleash a beautifully-crafted strike, rippling the back of the net and silencing the Aggborough faithful.

Harriers looked to redeem themselves after the interval and, through the trickery of Ahmed Obeng, felt they should have had the opportunity to level from the spot.

After setting up Storer with a mazy run after 20 minutes - the midfielder unfortunately fired wide from the edge of the box - Obeng continued to demonstrate his pace down the right and it was his efforts five minutes after half time which had the terraces calling for a penalty.

As the 22-year-old tried to send a low pass across the box, the ball appeared to strike the hand of a Spitfires defender; the fans behind the goal certainly thought so, as did the Harriers players closest to the incident, but referee Richard Martin disagreed.

In addition, shortly after the hour mark, Aggborough was sent into raptures after Dunkley appeared to head home the equaliser to round off a Harriers attack, but the defender was ruled offside.

Harriers’ best opportunity of the first half fell to Obeng, in a move starting with Michael Gash on the left-hand side.

The striker switched play to find the on-running Jared Hodgkiss down the right, who played in fellow full-back Kevin Nicholson in the box.

His effort on goal struck a blue shirt and the ball, in the aftermath, fell very kindly for Obeng, but the winger fired straight at ‘keeper Ross Flitney from close range.

The opening few minutes of a low-key first half saw Styche pick up a harsh-looking yellow card but the striker continued to show endeavor up front and was unfortunately flagged offside a few times as he attempted to latch onto crosses from his team-mates.

Styche also sent a low pass fizzing across the box from the right-hand side five minutes before half-time, but none of his team-mates were well-placed to poke it home.

Eastleigh had talent going forward in the form of Stuart Fleetwood and substitute James Constable, and the pair linked up well throughout the second half.

A long-range effort from Fleetwood struck the underside of the crossbar after 53 minutes after taking a deflection, before an important Hodgkiss intervention prevented him from doubling the Spitfires’ advantage with 12 minutes left.

Constable had two late opportunities of his own, sending an angled effort trickling just wide of the far post after 87 minutes before sending an acrobatic volley over the bar in stoppage time.

Substitute Yemi Odubade, too, tested Danny Lewis, forcing the ‘keeper into a right-sided dive to keep out his close-range strike from Will Evans’ pass.

As has been a common theme in the past few weeks, Harriers were improved in the second half and were causing Eastleigh problems.

Obeng and O’Keefe both had shots on target before substitute Johnson looked certain to set up Styche for the equaliser with a curling cross, only for Flitney to make a great point-blank stop to foil the striker.

It wasn’t enough for Harriers, however, and, after reaching the Fourth Round of the FA Cup last season, they’ve fallen at the first hurdle this time.

    Latest Match Reports