GULLS PAY THE PENALTY AS SPIT­FIRES MARCH ON

The Non-League Football Paper - - VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Steve Har­ris

EASTLEIGH man­ager Andy Hessen­thaler praised the char­ac­ter shown by his side as they ex­tended their un­beaten run to six matches against bot­tom side Torquay United.

Bournemouth loa­nee Sam Matthews gave the Spit­fires the lead be­fore Luke Young equalised for United, but a sec­ond half sucker punch from Gavin Hoyte killed off the Gulls’ hopes, who were dealt another blow when Jamie Reid saw his sec­ond-half penalty saved by Eastleigh keeper Ross Fl­it­ney.

“I think that this was prob­a­bly a bet­ter re­sult than the game against Da­gen­ham if I’m hon­est,” said Hessen­thaler.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult place to come, they are bot­tom of the ta­ble and they are fight­ing for their lives, which makes it very hard for us. We were re­silient and we dug in – we’re six games un­beaten now and things are look­ing up.”

Mean­while Torquay man­ager Gary Ow­ers be­lieved his play­ers de­served some­thing from the de­feat, which leaves them deep in the rel­e­ga­tion mire.

“I haven’t been too crit­i­cal of the play­ers be­cause I thought they had a go and I thought they de­served some­thing out of the game,” said Ow­ers.

“No doubt, We’ve been pun­ished by giv­ing away two really soft goals.”

The Spit­fires edged ahead on nine min­utes when Matthews struck with a low ef­fort, which Ryan Clarke got a hand to be­fore it trick­led over the line.

United lev­elled mat­ters in the 34th minute when Jake Gosling picked out Young from the left, who drilled home a low strike from the edge of the penalty area to score his fourth goal of the sea­son. The goal vis­i­bly lifted United’s spir­its as they fin­ished the first half strongly and they made a pos­i­tive start to the sec­ond as Gosling and Young com­bined again on 51 min­utes, as Young teed up Gosling for an an­gled shot that ag­o­nis­ingly missed the tar­get. How­ever, Eastleigh re­stored their lead in the 70th minute, against the run of play, when Hoyte took ad­van­tage of a lapse in con­cen­tra­tion in the United de­fence to slot home. Nine min­utes later, ref­eree Peter Wright pointed to the spot af­ter Ge­orge Dowling was felled by Sam Wood. Reid then stepped up to take the spot-kick, which was com­fort­ably saved by Fl­it­ney, who con­ceded a penalty from Reid when the two sides pre­vi­ously met on Box­ing Day.

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