Eastleigh 1 – 0 Boreham Wood
Saturday 3rd December 2022
Silverlake Stadium, Vanarama National League
Wood’s poor league run continue
Tristan Abrahams’ first half penalty condemned the Wood to a seventh league game without victory, with Jamal Fyfield’s additional red card making it a difficult task for the visitors to take any points back to Hertfordshire despite a mini resurgence in the second half that saw them battle until the very end.
Eastleigh took the lead in controversial fashion just after the half-hour mark when an off-the-ball incident between Fyfield and Danny Whitehall resulted in the former being sent for an early bath, with the altercation also bringing a spot-kick for the hosts which Abrahams converted.
This set the tone for a difficult afternoon in Hampshire, and the ten men of the Wood were unable to raise their performance as their poor league run continued
Defeat at the Silverlake Stadium means the Wood are leapfrogged by the Spitfires, and will be looking to finally bounce back with the visit of 23rd place Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night.
An unchanged side was named after the Wood overcame Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup last time out, with Luke Garrard looking to improve the league form after failing to win in their last six National League fixtures.
It was Eastleigh who saw the better of possession early on and they almost took the lead when Whitehall fired a volley wide of the target from just outside the penalty area, moments before Abrahams was sent one on one with Nathan Ashmore before being taken out by Cameron Coxe, but the referee waved away the appeals for a foul.
They should have been awarded a golden opportunity to break the deadlock after ten minutes when Abrahams was brought down seemingly in the box, but further controversy saw the referee deem the foul to have taken place right on the edge, and the subsequent free kick was comfortably claimed by Ashmore.
The Wood produced their first opportunity of the game after 19 minutes when Zak Brunt volleyed a tame effort into the gloves of Joe McDonnell, but Eastleigh responded by going close once more as Ryan Hill’s looping goal-bound cross needed to be claimed by Ashmore.
The hosts did soon take the lead but much to the dismay of the Wood. An off-the-ball incident saw Fyfield move his head towards Whitehall in the box with the Spitfires striker instantly dropping to the ground despite the contact looking minimal, and after much discussion between the referee and his assistants he soon opted to show red to the Wood defender, along with a spot-kick being awarded to the hosts. Abrahams subsequently stepped up to bury his effort beyond Ashmore from 12 yards.
The visitors struggled to react to this blow and couldn’t respond with an improvement in what was a poor display thus far, trailing at the break without really threatening their opponents who went into the interval deservedly ahead.
HT: Eastleigh 1-0 Boreham Wood
The Wood’s first half performance was certainly complimentary to the cold weather in Hampshire and the second seemed to start no differently. Eastleigh once again went closest to scoring after just four minutes with Whitehall firing inches over from close range after Oscar Rutherford had fizzed a pass into him, although the visitors began to gain control of proceedings as the half progressed.
One of the Wood’s better chances of the game fell to George Broadbent after Brunt was fouled 25 yards out, but the Sheffield United man was unable to keep his strike down as a rare opportunity went begging, minutes before Jack Payne had an effort rise high after taking a wicked deflection that allowed McDonnell to eventually gather.
Openings continued to fall for the visitors though as they looked to get back into the game despite their one-man disadvantage, and they began to put their stamp on proceedings with an increasing spell of pressure; Payne having another strike as he rifled a speculative effort from distance which needed to be parried by the Spitfires stopper.
Érico Sousa made his long-awaited return to action when he replaced Brunt in a double change that saw Dennon Lewis introduced as well, and the Portugal youth international was immediately involved as some neat footwork saw him get beyond the Spitfires defence before sliding the ball into the path of Payne, who had a third chance in quick succession go amiss as his tame effort from a tight angle was easily gathered by McDonnell.
Lewis would then look to make his own impact on the game as he had two good chances in quick succession, first rifling a powerful drive just wide of the post before finding himself in space to shoot on the edge of the box, with his effort needing to be pushed away by an increasingly busy McDonnell.
Eastleigh saw a couple of chances go amiss themselves as they looked to add a second, with Whitehall firing a free kick over the crossbar before Rutherford sent an effort of his own the same way after some good individual work.
Sousa would later find himself in unfamiliar territory Lee Ndlovu stood the ball up for him in the box, but his header was blocked as the Spitfires tried desperately to keep a hold of their narrow lead.
The Wood continued to battle with four additional minutes giving them a lifeline at the end of the game, but a late Broadbent shot flew into the grateful arms of McDonnell who held on for dear life, doing the same moments later to claim a deep Sousa cross which soon signalled the end of proceedings.
FT: Eastleigh 1-0 Boreham Wood
Eastleigh: McDonnell; Rutherford, Langston, Maghoma, Kelly; Hill, Atangana (Lloyd 42’), Cissé, Carter; Whitehall, Abrahams (Harper 45’)
Subs Not Used: Flitney, Camp, Yang
Goal: Abrahams 33’
Boreham Wood: Ashmore; Evans, Stephens, Fyfield, Coxe, Broadbent, Payne, Brunt (Sousa 70’), Ilesamni; Ndlovu, Newton (Lewis 70’)
Subs Not Used: Rees, Marsh, Williams
Star Man: Cameron Coxe
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