Blue Square Bet
Published 13th August 2012
....stronger than expected Reading XI on Saturday.
The seven friendlies played by Ian Baird’s newly-built team have produced a whopping twenty-nine goals – fifteen for and fourteen against.
But the Spitfires boss shudders at the thought of battling out regular high-scoring thrillers once the new Blue Square Bet South campaign gets under way. Baird, whose side kick off the new season at Boreham Wood on Saturday, said: “I don’t want us to be a side that wins 5-4.
“I want a team built on solid foundations, not one that gives you heart attacks and palpitations every week.”
Saturday, though, produced exactly the sort of rollercoaster ride Baird will be at pains to avoid.
Pitted against a Reading side featuring experienced left-back Nicky Shorey, Turkish international Jem Karacan, 6`4” defender Sean Morrison and Icelandic midfielder Brynjar Gunnarsson, Eastleigh dominated their visitors for the opening 40 minutes.
An unfortunate slip by young Royals defender Jake Cooper invited Moses Ademola to fire the Spitfires ahead nine minutes in.
That advantage was doubled on 25 minutes when towering defender Tom Jordan nipped round the back of a static defence to flick home Jai Reason’s quickly-taken free kick.
Craig McAllister, Glen Southam and Marvin Williams could all have added to the tally before Reading nicked one back on the stroke of half-time when Charlie Losasso – loaned to Salisbury City last season – set up Jake Taylor for a crisp finish.
Andy Forbes – arguably Eastleigh’s most polished first half performer – was rested 7 minutes into the second period with fit-again left-back Adam Everitt replacing him in central defence.
And without Forbes’ calming defensive presence, Eastleigh lost their way.
There was little the Spitfires could do to prevent Adam Tshibola’s thunderbolt on the hour, but the same could not be said for the Craig Tanner brace that put the game out of their reach.
Having made a brilliant point-blank save to deny Losasso on 72 minutes, ex-Southampton goalkeeper Jack Dovey had a communication breakdown with Everitt, inviting Tanner to squeeze a gift shot home.
Then, just 3 minutes later, Dovey failed to hold Losasso’s blast and Tanner reacted sharpest.
Baird said: “It’s not often you say you’re pleased after losing 4-2, but for the first 40 minutes we were absolutely outstanding.
“The lesson we learned, though, was that we should have killed them off.
“I’m just glad to get pre-season over and done with.
“I haven’t enjoyed it. I want to get on with the cut and thrust of the league.