The Non-League Football Paper
TEN-MAN SPITFIRES SURVIVE
TEN-MAN Eastleigh pulled off a creditable goal-less draw against play-off rivals Bromley after having Corey Panter sent off early in the second half.
The Spitfires central defender was shown a straight red card by referee Ben Atkinson six minutes after the break for a challenge on Bromley striker Michael Cheek.
“I don’t feel it was a sending off and it changed the dynamic of the game,” said Eastleigh boss Lee Bradbury with his side still occupying the last play-off spot, three points clear of Bromley.
“But we adapted well and, with Christian Maghoma hobbling off injured shortly afterwards, we had to replace both our central defenders. Fortunately, we had two centre halves on the bench.
“Overall, I was happy with the result. Bromley are a good side, always up there in the playoff positions, so we’ll take the point.”
Fortunately, Panter’s red card didn’t detract from an thoroughly entertaining game featuring two in-form sides with promotion aspirations.
“It wasn’t a bad nil-nil, was it ?” cracked Bromley manager Andy Woodman, whose side had an eight-match unbeaten run ended with a 2-1 defeat at Woking in midweek.
“It was a cracking match with both sides wanting to win it, but overall a draw was a fair result. We hit the woodwork twice and had two other great chances, while our goalkeeper (Reice Charles-Cook) pulled off a superb save midway through the second half.
“I was a little gutted as half-time came at a bad time for us as we were finding our rhythm and pinning them back.
“The sending off didn’t do us any favours. Eastleigh got everyone behind the ball and it made it difficult to break them down. Its always difficult against ten.
“I fancy Eastleigh will be happier with a draw but neither of us has lost anything in terms of our respective positions in the play-offs. It’s going to go to the wire.”
Eastleigh bossed the opening exchanges with Ousseynou Cisse and Danny Weatherall going close, but Bromley grew into the game, with Cheek heading against the upright when he should have scored.
Eastleigh had to reshuffle their defence when Panter saw red and Maghoma limped off, but replacements Aaron Martin and George Langston plugged the gap with aplom.
The acton continued unbated and, inside a frenzied 90-second period, Joe McDonnell beat out a shot with his knees, while at the other end CharlesCook pulled off a stunning low save to deny Cisse an almost certain Eastleigh winner.