Eastleigh better in front of goal

Hampshire Chronicle: Richard Hill Richard Hill

EASTLEIGH’S hard work to “pick a better option in front of goal” is reaping dividends.

Not only have the Spitfires overhauled Bromley at the top of the Skrill Conference South, but they have done it in prolific style, netting eight goals in their last two games.

Not so long ago it looked as if Bromley’s vastly superior goal difference would be worth an extra point to them in the title race, but that may no longer be the case. Having banged in four for the first time in the league this season against Bishop’s Stortford last Saturday, Richard Hill’s Spitfires repeated the dose in midweek at Whitehawk, taking their goal difference to 23 compared to Bromley’s 27.

Speaking after Tuesday’s 4-1 win, where all Eastleigh’s goals were crammed into the first half, Hill said: “We’ve worked very hard on picking a better option in front of goal. Reece’s (Connolly) finish tonight was a true goal scorer’s finish and Ben Wright’s free-kick was a great finish too.

“You’ve seen with Craig McAllister’s goal that Wrighty’s played him in a treat, but a few weeks ago we’ve tried to score them ourselves.

“We’ve created chances throughout this season and lost games 2-1, like at Tonbridge the other week.

“Watching the DVD back, we had 20 chances on goal in the second half alone, but we were poor at finishing. “The ball hit somebody’s backside, the ’keeper’s dived the wrong way and it’s hit his legs.”

Eastleigh might have fancied themselves to further improve their goal difference in the second half at Whitehawk after home skipper Tom Fraser had been sent off.

But Hill was realistic, saying: “The second half is never going to be the same as the first. You rarely see teams go on to score six or seven after taking such a lead.

“We’d all like to see it, but the opposition are going to play for pride.

“We’ve had a couple of half chances and we perhaps should have had a penalty.

“But let’s not dwell on what we could have had and be pleased that we’ve come to a very tough place and won comfortably.”

Eastleigh travel to Staines Town tomorrow shorn of wide attacker Reece Connolly who starts a three-match ban.

Midfielder Jamie Collins is still struggling with ankle trouble, but Hill is hopeful that Stuart Fleetwood (hamstring) and McAllister (jarred knee) will be fit.

After a win-less run of six league games, Staines have bounced back with successive victories at Hayes & Yeading and Havant & Waterlooville.

They sit 13th, eight points shy of fifth spot, but will fancy their chances of a late play-off charge with eight of their last 11 fixtures at Wheatsheaf Park.

“It’s going to be difficult,” said Hill. “What we’re seeing now is the league opening up a bit.

“Earlier in the season teams were keeping it tight, putting men behind the ball. Now they’re coming out to play a bit more, trying to pick up points.”

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