By Nathan Hodge

Poor finishing and a defensive mistake cost the Wood in this National League Fixture. Plenty of chances were created but none were capitalised on for the Wood and a gift from David Stephens for Scott Wilson saw Eastleigh as 1-0 winners at Meadow Park.

The Wood missed out on much needed points in the battle for the top 6 and Luke Garrard will be disappointed following the defeat. Only four days prior to this fixture the two sides had met in the reverse fixture in which the Wood made a dramatic late comeback with Danny Woodards scoring in added time to gift Wood a deserved point.

The first half saw the Wood on top but unable to get a goal for their efforts, which was costly as an unfortunate mistake saw the Wood 1-0 down early on in the second half. Eastleigh then sat deep and defended well to win the match.

Both teams showed some real intent in the opening five minutes with the Wood’s defence staying strong to keep Eastleigh at bay. The first shot of the game came from Eastleigh which was dragged wide by James Constable and caused Grant Smith no problems in the Wood goal.

The Wood then put a free kick in to the box which was easily cleared and caused a counter attack in which another shot was dragged wide by Wilson.

An outstanding chance to take the lead for the Wood saw Angelo Balanta go through one on one with the Eastleigh goalkeeper Mark Childs, but Balanta’s attempt to square the ball to Ferrier was stopped by the Eastleigh defence who had tracked back just in the nick of time to prevent a tap in for Ferrier.

The Wood looked to be in danger as Wilson received the ball from the left hand side but excellent tracking back from Stephens saw the Wood out of trouble.

Smith was forced to make his first save shortly after as Constable was allowed to turn and strike at goal which was straight at Smith who gathered it quite easily.

35 minutes in and Wood got the ball on the deck and produced some good passing play before winning a corner. Balanta’s corner cleared everyone until Ferrier picked it up on the left-hand side and he then managed to produce a really dangerous ball in which gained another corner.

The Wood then fired cross after cross into the box and found themselves in some great positions but just couldn’t manage to stick the ball in the back of the net. Balanta and Jeffrey combined on the 40th minute which produced a Balanta shot from the left of the box which he dragged just wide.

Eastleigh came out and grabbed an early goal just after the break as Stephens, who had a solid first half, helped put his team one down as he played a poor back pass which saw Wilson capitalise taking the ball round Smith and making it 1-0 to the visitors.

The Wood took a while to get going again after falling behind but Jeffrey tried to spark some life into his team 10 minutes after the restart when his run from the left found him in enough space to fizz a shot that flew just wide.

Wood seemed to be up and running as Ben Nunn and Jeffrey combined well on the Wood’s right hand side before Jeffrey played a great ball into Balanta who controlled well on his chest before forcing a great save from the Eastleigh keeper. That move was Nunn’s last piece of action as Ricky Shakes came on to replace the full back.

Devera who played out from the back to Jeffrey put in another troubling cross but Shakes was deemed offside. The Wood continued to knock on the door as Kenny Davis struck over the bar from 20 yards.

A brilliant long ball from Devera found Bruno Andrade onside, the Portuguese striker struck his effort perfectly to the bottom left hand corner. It looked to have beaten Childs but he took the sting out of the ball and gathered before anyone could capitalise.

It was pretty much route one stuff for Wood now with Stephens operating as an additional centre forward but despite winning a flick on it came to nothing and Eastleigh held on for the win.


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