RICHARD Hill says his Eastleigh players deserve “unbelievable credit” for their efforts of the last five games.
Despite an exhausting run of fixtures that has sandwiched a home win over Dorchester between journeys to Whitehawk, Staines, Hayes & Yeading and Bishop’s Stortford, the Spitfires have come through unbeaten and are still making the running in the Conference South.
“We’ve played four away and one at home and picked up nine points. You’ve got to give the players unbelievable credit for that,” said Hill. “They gave literally all they had to give at Stortford on Tuesday to come back from two down (for a 2-2 draw).
“We had Stortford watched when they lost at Gosport on Saturday and a couple of our fans saw it too and said you wouldn’t have thought they were the same team.
“Their manager (Rod Stringer) said to me on Tuesday that his lads were amazing and gave him everything.
“They raised their game because it was Eastleigh and that came just 48 hours after we’d been to Hayes & Yeading (1-1), another team who raised their performance against us. “Both games were played at an unbelievable tempo, but even after we went two down at Stortford I knew we’d be alright if we could get a goal before half-time.”
Ben Wright duly supplied it with a sublimely taken free-kick, leaving Ben Strevens to complete the fightback with a second-half header.
“I felt that if we got one back we’d have chance, but we had to be careful not to let anything in because if you go three down you’ve had it,” said Hill. “We should have had a penalty too, a foul was given on Jai Reason outside the box when it was inside.”
Eastleigh make a welcome return to home pastures tomorrow looking to complete a season’s double over Whitehawk following a 4-1 win in Sussex on March 18.
Stuart Fleetwood and Dean Beckwith were absent again at Stortford, allowing them more time to get over hamstring problems. “If we’d had just two games left I might have risked Fleetwood, but we haven’t,” said Hill. “We’re monitoring them both and hopefully we’ve handled this the right way.”
Striker Reece Connolly is also being monitored having complained of a tight calf.