FC Halifax Town fell to a fourth straight Vanarama National League defeat away to Eastleigh, with the Spitfires coming from behind to claim a 2-1 victory.
Having made the better start, Town deservedly took the lead when Kingsley James smashed home his fourth goal of the season in the fifteenth minute. But second half goals from Andy Drury and Josh Payne completed the turnaround to leave the Shaymen without a win in five as they slipped to bottom place.
Town began the match in lively fashion by getting out of the blocks quickly and looked sharp in the opening exchanges, with Scott McManus, James and Sam Walker linking up well and causing the early threat.
The Shaymen continued to push and looked to carve open the first chance of the game, which ultimately fell to the home side as Payne’s long range effort was well blocked by Kiel O’Brien.
But it was Town who opened the scoring after a lovely team move. Kieran Sadlier cut in from the right and squared the ball to Jordan Burrow, before Town’s top scorer found Sam Walker on the edge of the area, who saw his low strike saved, as James pounced to net his fourth goal of the season.
With Town growing in confidence and looking in command, Nicky Wroe tried his luck with a curling effort which was deflected behind. From the following corner, O’Brien couldn’t quite get the ball from under his feet as Eastleigh cleared the danger.
At the other end Matty Fanimo did well to whip in an excellent cross from the by-line, only for Ross Lafayette to head over. Town continued to look bright going forwards, while Lafayette dragged a low shot just wide.
The Spitfires came on stronger as half time approached, but Lafayette failed to divert Fanimo’s cross goal bound, while Nat Brown brilliantly denied a surging Yemi Odubade with a last ditch tackle. Eastleigh had one final chance before the break, but the experienced Ben Strevens headed well over as the referee blew for half time.
In the second half, it was Eastleigh who started the better of the two sides, taking just two minutes to find an equaliser. Andy Drury was given far too much time and space in the box to bring the ball under control and fire the home side level.
The introduction of Eastleigh’s top scorer James Constable almost paid immediate dividends, as he forced Matt Glennon into the first of two important saves. Having parried Constable’s strike, Town’s ‘keeper then did well to palm away a low drive from Fanimo.
Wroe saw a half volley charged down, before Eastleigh took advantage on the counter attack to take the lead for the first time in the game. As Town failed to deal with Odubade’s in swinging cross from the left, Josh Payne was at the back post to bundle home.
As the Shaymen pushed forward in search of an equaliser, second half substitution Shaun Tuton saw a header turned behind for a corner, from which confusion ensued. An Eastleigh clearance was met on the volley by Kieran Sadlier, who found the back of the net with a wonderful strike, only to be denied a goal as the referee had already blown for a nasty looking collision involving James.
With James able to continue, the match resumed as Town piled on the pressure in the closing minutes. Tuton twisted and turned as he cut in from the right hand side but was to be denied by a fantastic save from Ross Flitney, before James witnessed his effort loop over by the aid of a deflection.
From resulting corner, Burrow leapt highest and guided a header towards goal, but it was ultimately dealt with by the Spitfires as the home side held on for the win, condemning Town to the bottom of the league table.
Man of the Match – Kingsley James
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