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Hill lands league award
EASTLEIGH’S Richard Hill has been named Skrill Conference South manager-of-the-month for September.
It follows a sensational month for the Spitfires, who enjoyed a 100 per cent league record during that period to soar to the top of the table.
Eastleigh kicked off the month with a 2-1 win over former leaders Bromley and then reeled off straight victories over Maidenhead, Eastbourne and Hayes & Yeading before knocking Mangotsfield out of the FA Cup.
While Hill’s September accolade might have been viewed as a foregone conclusion, the same didn’t apply to his team.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Spitfires have been overlooked for the player-of-the-month award for the second time running.
That honour went to Louie Theophanous of Staines Town, who scored seven goals in five games.
It was the same story last month when another striker, Bromley’s Pierre Joseph-Dubois, was handed the August prize.
Given Eastleigh’s current dominance of the division, it’s somewhat mystifying that players of the calibre of midfielder Ben Strevens and centre-back Dean Beckwith have missed out.
“In my opinion Dean Beckwith was the best player in this league in September,” said Hill. “They gave the August award to the lad who scored all the goals for Bromley (Joseph-Dubois), but when he came up against Dean he got nothing!
“The lad from Staines has done well to get his goals, but you find so often with these awards that they only notice the goalscorers.
“But we only conceded twice in the whole month and, for me, kicking the ball off the line – as Jamie Collins did against Eastbourne – has as much bearing on the result as scoring a goal.
“I find it hard to believe we haven’t won a players’ award, but we’re not in it for that. As a group, we don’t get off on accolades and awards.
“All we want to do is go to work and do the job we’re paid for to the best of our ability.”
Eastleigh continue their quest for Conference South supremacy at home to divisional new boys Concord Rangers tomorrow.
The Canvey Island-based outfit – winners of the Ryman Premier play-offs – are faring the best of the newly-promoted clubs, sitting tenth in the table with 12 points from nine games.
“It’s not going to be easy,” cautioned Hill. “Concord are a committed, organised bunch who won’t come here to roll over.
“At the moment we’re teetering on the edge of something and the season could tip one way or the other.
“So let’s enjoy what we’re going through and respect it because as soon as you disrespect it, it’s over.
“No matter how high that pedestal is, if it gets kicked from underneath you, it hurts.”
Damian Batt returns from sickness tomorrow, but Dan Spence (hamstring) and Yemi Odubade (groin) are still out and Craig McAllister missed training on Thursday with a slight knock.
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