In an overcast Bank Holiday Monday down on the south coast it was promotion chasing FC Halifax Town who came away victorious at the expense of Eastleigh courtesy of goals from Kian Spence and Matt Warburton.
The game started brightly for the home side when Jake Hesketh picked up the ball from the left-hand side and played a low cross to the centre of the box but fortunately for Halifax, Kian Spence met the ball first to clear away.
Just 11 minutes into the game Eastleigh attacked down the left-hand side again when Hesketh played another low ball, but this time Eastleigh top scorer Danny Whitehall couldn’t get the connection he was looking for to guide a shot at Sam Johnson in the Town goal before the ball was eventually cleared away.
Town grabbed the first shot of the game when Jordan Slew collected the ball 25 yards out of goal before attempting the shot from an awkward angle which failed to test Joe McDonnell in the Eastleigh goal and flew wide of the post in the end.
Eastleigh were forced into an early substitution when Tom Broadbent went down injured, and his replacement Sam Smart didn’t take long to make an impact on the game as he grabbed the hosts’ first shot of the game down the right-hand side, but it flew high and wide of Johnson’s goal.
The game burst into life in the 39th minute when Town grabbed the opener through a superb goal from Kian Spence who picked the ball up from a corner and struck it sweetly into the top left-hand corner leaving the keeper with absolutely no chance.
Eastleigh came straight back at Halifax and felt they were unlucky to have not been awarded a penalty when Jack Senior seemed to have brought down Sam Smart inside the box, but the referee didn’t hesitate to wave the ball out for a goal kick.
Less than a minute later and Halifax grabbed their second goal out of absolutely nothing, the long ball was played forward, and it found its way at the feet of Matt Warburton who drilled it home into the bottom left-hand corner to put Halifax 2-0 up at Eastleigh.
On the stroke of half time Eastleigh nearly grabbed one back but Pierce Bird making his second start for his new team managed to head the ball from inside the six-yard box and prevent Sam Johnson from having to make the save.
Just before the half time whistle Kian Spence and Harry Pritchard found themselves both of a yellow card after attempting their inner Tyson Fury and Dillan Whyte after Spence brought down the Eastleigh man on the counterattack.
The first half finished 2-0 to FC Halifax Town after a dominant final 10 minutes from the visitors.
Eastleigh started the second half the better of the two sides and they got their reward when Harry Pritchard stabbed home from inside the box after an early cross to pull the game back to 2-1 to Halifax.
In the 65th minute the hosts won a free kick in a very dangerous area after Jack Senior brought down Smart on the edge of the box. Michael Kelly struck the free kick high and wide in the end.
Not long after and Matt Warburton tried his luck from range, however this one wasn’t able to repeat his heroics of the first half as this shot flew high and wide of the post.
Eastleigh gathered up some good link up play when Cav Miley teed up Smart whose attempted effort was well blocked by the Town backline to keep the visitors in the lead.
With just four minutes to play Halifax had a glorious chance to wrap the game up when Spence played Slew down the right-hand side, but his attempted cross was a missed kick and floated into the hands of McDonnell.
Eastleigh nearly grabbed their second in the 88th minute when substitute Ronan Silva landed a beautiful shot towards goal, and it flew inches wide of the post.
In a second half starved with chances for either side it was FC Halifax Town that saw out the 3 points at the expense of Eastleigh with a 2-1 victory. That result sees Halifax remain 3rd in the Vanarama National League whilst Eastleigh also remain 19th in the table.
1 Joe McDonnell, 2 Brennan Camp, 3 Michael Kelly, 4 Cav Miley, 5 Tom Broadbent (7 Sam Smart 20), (20 Ronan Silva 77), 6 Andrew Boyce ©, 8 Harry Pritchard 9 Dan Smith (14 Brett Pitman 77), 12 Jake Hesketh, 17 Danny Whitehall, 26 Vincent Harper
Subs: 21 Thomas Bragg, 10 Tyrone Barnett
FC Halifax Town:
1 Sam Johnson, 3 Jack Senior, 5 Jesse Debrah, 8 Kieran Green ©, 10 Matt Warburton (26 Martin Woods 78), 11 Billy Waters (27 Zak Dearnley 84), 14 Matty Stenson (20 Harvey Gilmour 61), 17 Kian Spence, 21 Tyrell Warren, 25 Jordan Slew, 28 Pierce Bird
Subs: 2 Jay Benn, 19 Jamie Cooke
Referee: Daniel Lamport
Goals: Spence 39, Warburton 43, Pritchard 49
Yellow Cards: Spence 45, Pritchard 45, Debrah 45, Senior 65, Miley 70, Warren 80, Slew 81
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 3068 (164 away)
Eastleigh 1 FC Halifax Town 2
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