When news happens, text CHRON and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email & phone.
Yemi turns heat up as Eastleigh stay top
6:54pm Sunday 15th September 2013 in Sport
YEMI Odubade turned up the heat on frontline competition at table-topping Eastleigh with a sharply-taken brace at Maidenhead United yesterday.
The Spitfires stormed back from a goal down to retain pole position with a 3-1 win and ruthlessly destroy the last unbeaten record in the Skrill Conference South.
It prompted beaten Magpies manager Johnson Hippolyte to declare afterwards that his side had lost to the future champions.
Eastleigh dominated the opening exchanges and it looked only a matter of time before they scored.
But Maidenhead beat them to it in the 16th minute when ex-Spitfire Richard Pacquette played in Wadah Ahmidi on the left and raced on to head home his teammate’s cross.
That, though, drew an instant response from Eastleigh who were back on terms within 90 seconds as Odubade – recalled in place of Craig McAllister, who had a tight hamstring – latched onto Ben Strevens’ headed flick-on from Jamie Collins’ corner. The former Gateshead goal poacher swivelled before unleashing a shot which deflected in off Curtis Ujah.
Eastleigh handed a debut to midweek signing Damian Batt and the right-back prevented his new team falling behind again when he raced back to cover after Reece Tilson-Lascaris had rounded ’keeper Ross Flitney and slid the ball towards an empty net.
Odubade just failed to make contact with Jai Reason’s low cross at the start of the second half, but he didn’t wait long to strike again.
With 57 minutes gone, Adrian Clifton’s attempted clearance crashed into Reason and fell straight into the path of the Nigerian-born frontman who clinically finished across ’keeper Elvijs Putnins.
Pacquette clipped the bar from 25 yards as the Magpies went in search of a leveller, but the strength of Eastleigh’s attacking armoury was apparent when McAllister – on as a 74th-minute sub for Odubade – took just five minutes to make his mark.
Reason found him with a threaded through ball and the big man raced on to seal victory with a smart finish into the bottom corner. Left-back Michael Green limped off late after kicking the underside of an opponent’s boot, but the bonus for Eastleigh was defender Chris Todd making a brief comeback from hamstring trouble.
“We were unbeaten until today and we’ve lost to the team that’s going to win the league in my opinion, so that’s no disgrace,” said Hippolyte.
“I make jokes about Eastleigh being the Manchester City of the Conference South. They’ve got a wealth of strikers that any manager in the league would die for.”
Victory was the perfect way to celebrate Hill’s first year in charge and he must now decide which of his pedigree marksmen to unleash on ex-Saint Tommy Widdrington’s Eastbourne Borough at the Silverlake tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.45).
Explaining his reasons for recalling Odubade, Hill said: “McAllister hadn’t trained all week with a tight hamstring and my thoughts were that it would be better to leave him off for a game rather than losing him for a long time.
“Putting Yemi in has not devalued the team in any way. A report came back to me that Maidenhead’s central defenders weren’t particularly mobile and Yemi did what he’s paid to do.
“By his own admission Yemi’s been frustrated at not being in the team, the same as McAllister was frustrated when he wasn’t. It’s good it frustrates them, but it mustn’t get to the point where they’re disappointed or fed up.”
Summing up the performance, Hill added: “We’re not looking bad! We had 17 shots on goal.
“It was debatable if Maidenhead’s goal was offside. They had a couple of other chances and Damian’s cleared one off the line but, other than that, we were in the ascendancy.”
Comments are closed on this article.