Eastleigh v Boreham Wood
Saturday 3rd December 2022, 12.30pm
Silverlake Stadium, Vanarama National League 

Vengeance will be on the agenda for Eastleigh as the Wood make the journey south to take on the Spitfires at the Silverlake Stadium, having overcome Lee Bradbury’s men last month in the FA Cup.


The Spitfires are approaching a decade in the National League following their promotion in 2014, with a 19thplace finish last time out sealing a ninth consecutive year in the fifth tier. They have begun the current campaign promisingly though, racking up 28 points from their opening 21 games to see them sit 12th with eight wins, four draws and nine defeats, after strengthening in the summer with the arrivals of Ousseynou Cissé, Christian Maghoma, Tristan Abrahams, Charlie Carter and Aaron Martin from Football League clubs, adding experience alongside the new crop of young players with Corey Panter, Brennan Camp, George Langston and JJ McKiernan joining from Luton Town, AFC Bournemouth and Watford respectively. This softened the blow of the departures of Andrew Boyce, Harry Pritchard, Cav Miley and Sam Smart to fellow National League clubs along with veterans Danny Hollands and Tyrone Barnett also moving on.


Altrincham 2-1 Eastleigh
Saturday 26th November 2022
Vanarama National League

Eastleigh fell to defeat in Greater Manchester as goals from Elliot Newby and Ryan Colclough condemned them to a third loss in a row.

It took a little under ten minutes for the first chance of the game to be produced, as Colclough offered up an early warning sign when an effort from distance fell into the gloves of Joe McDonnell via a ricochet off George Langston. This began a spell of pressure for the hosts who were looking for a second win in three games themselves, with Chris Conn-Clarke dragging an effort wide of the post after a marauding run, but the Robins soon found themselves ahead when Newby got on the end of a cut-back to ensure the third time was the charm. The visitors looked to gain control of proceedings after going behind, with Vincent Harper delivering a cross to Charlie Carter who headed the Spitfires’ first real chance off target. It was the former Fulham man who looked the brightest for the visitors, and went close again after some slick passes led to a driven ball from Tristan Abrahams, with Carter unable to keep his effort down.

Altrincham were keen to extend their advantage after the break and avoid letting their opponents back into it, and they almost did add a second just four minutes into the half when Connor Jennings sent a powerful volley just over the crossbar. Action began to dry up throughout the half, but the hosts doubled their lead through Colclough moments after lashing out at Brennan Camp following a strong tackle from the latter, with the Alty winger slotting beyond the outstretched McDonnell. Substitute Danny Whitehall was able to make it an uncomfortable finale for the hosts after heading one back for Eastleigh just before stoppage time was announced, but it was too little too late for the visitors who’s defeat was confirmed after Ollie Byrne made a fine diving save at the death to deny Harper.


Altrincham (A) L2-1
Maidenhead United (A) L2-1
Notts County (H) L0-2
Maidstone United (H) W5-2
Boreham Wood (A) L3-1
Scunthorpe United (H) W2-0

The Spitfires seem a completely different outfit to the one that faced the Wood at the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park in November, having come into that one with just three defeats from their previous 11 games. This a large contrast to the situation now, with just one win in their four games since. Having followed up a victory over Scunthorpe United with defeat at the hands of the Wood in the FA Cup, Eastleigh bounced straight back with a seven-goal thriller seeing them come from behind in the first half to overcome Maidstone United. However, they have tasted three successive defeats since with title hopefuls Notts County succumbing the Spitfires to a 2-0 loss before further defeats away at Maidenhead United and Altrincham saw them drop to 12th in the National League table, with just goal difference separating them from the Wood.


Lee Bradbury enjoyed a enjoyed a 17-year playing career after spending some time in the Army, featuring over 100 times for Portsmouth and AFC Bournemouth, as well as spending a season with Manchester City in 1997/98 when he was purchased for £3 million. He is well-known locally, having spent time with Pompey and the Cherries as a player and in various coaching roles, guiding the latter to the League One play-offs before spending seven years as manager of Havant & Waterlooville where he oversaw the Hawks’ first ever promotion to the National League. After brief spells at Eastbourne Borough and Crawley Town, the latter being in an assistant head coach role, Bradbury returned to the National League when he took over at Eastleigh in February 2022.


Liverpool-born forward Danny Whitehall spent much of his early career with Liverpool and Rochdale AFC, joining the latter at Under-18 level following his release from the Reds. He began his senior career with stints at Southport, Marine and Prescot Cables towards the end of 2014, but opted to move abroad with time in the USA as he looked to gain regular first team experience. He played college soccer at SIU Edwardsville Cougars and Hastings College, winning a number of awards and setting several records for the latter with a stunning 93 goals in 75 games. He was subsequently promoted to club football with spells at Chattanooga and Bugeaters, before returning to England in July 2019. A year with Maidenhead United preceded a move across the border with the striker spending the 2020/21 campaign at Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock, but he moved back down south to join Eastleigh in August 2021. He has gone on to score 18 goals for the Spitfires over the last two seasons, top scoring in both with 11 goals last season and seven goals so far this season.


Boreham Wood 3-1 Eastleigh
Saturday 5th November 2022
Emirates FA Cup First Round

The Wood kicked off their journey in the FA Cup proper with a 3-1 victory over fellow National League side Eastleigh, repeating the heroics of the previous season.

An electric opening saw the Wood sharper in the early exchanges, with George Broadbent giving them the lead after just ten minutes when he got on the end of Femi Ilesamni’s drilled cross before finishing smartly into the bottom corner. Lee Ndlovu would add a second in as many minutes when he met Danny Newton’s ball and slotted past Joe McDonnell, and the Wood were flying after the early stages. Eastleigh got themselves straight back into it though as Charlie Carter finished from close range to halve the deficit, when he took advantage of an inviting ball from Brennan Camp to pull a goal back and inject some energy into the Spitfires’ performance. They came close to equalising when JJ McKiernan rattled the post with a half volley from distance, but they were unable to find a leveller before the referee brought a close to an action-packed first half.

Similarly to the first half, the Wood started the second brightly as they looked to extend their advantage once more, and they found a third goal on the hour-mark when some brilliant work from Cameron Coxe saw the Colchester United loanee find an inch of space to deliver a cross towards Zak Brunt at the back post, who had the composure to take a touch and slot the ball home to restore the hosts’ two-goal cushion, with the celebrations that followed being a fitting touch to a moment of class as the Sheffield United man produced a perfect knee slide in front of an erupting North Bank. The hosts were able to control the rest of the game and prevent Eastleigh from pulling another goal back, although they were handed a lifeline late on when Tristan Abrahams was brought down in the box by David Stephens, but Danny Whitehall blasted his spot-kick over the crossbar with his skied effort securing the Wood’s name in the hat for Round Two.


Share This