Hill demands fast start from Spitfires


RICHARD Hill will be urging Eastleigh to get off to a flier tomorrow as they look to complete a festive double over Skrill Conference South strugglers Dorchester Town at the Silverlake (January 1, 3pm).

Although the Spitfires are enjoying a fine run of results, having reeled off a fifth straight league and cup win over Bath City on Saturday, the perfectionist in Hill would like to see them stamp their authority earlier.

“Sometimes we don’t start games well enough,” he said.

“That’s something we’ve got to do better or else one week we’ll find ourselves in a situation where the game is already out of sight, like we saw against Oxford City in the FA Cup.

“But if we get ourselves in a position where we’re on the front foot straight away then we can have a good afternoon.”

Although the Spitfires eventually saw off Bath 2-1, they made hard work of it.

Having been pegged back to 1-1, they were arguably lucky not to fall behind before having Stuart Fleetwood red-carded.

Substitute Jamie Collins’ 81st-minute header secured an unlikely victory for the ten men and, although Hill was rightly proud of his players’ fighting spirit, he confessed: “We’ve shown a lot of character to beat Dover, Dorchester and Bath, but we’re making life hard for ourselves.

“We could make it a lot easier by taking our chances and keeping the ball better.

“But I’m not going to criticise these lads because they’ve not only had a fantastic December but a fantastic 2013.

“All they want to do is win.

“As a club we’re unrecognisable from this time 12 months ago and it’s a really good place to be.

“We looked a bit lethargic on Saturday, as if it was a mental thing, but don’t forget we’ve had four tough games, starting with Gateshead in the FA Trophy, and several players played all 180 minutes against Dorchester and Bath.

“It’s a big requirement at this time of year playing two games in three days – not just for us, but for all clubs – and it makes you wonder why the league couldn’t have switched Saturday’s games to Sunday.”

Although Dorchester made the second-placed Spitfires fight hard for Boxing Day’s 2-1 triumph at the Avenue Stadium, the Magpies took festive generosity to the extreme at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday, having three players sent off in a 3-0 defeat.

Ex-AFC Bournemouth and AFC Totton youngster Clive Makoni was dismissed for two yellows, along with Mark Jermyn, while Steve Walker received a straight red for what boss Phil Simkin labelled an “horrendous” challenge.

The suspensions won’t come into affect yet, but Simkin is already hunting for reinforcements and is meanwhile looking to extend Josh Wakefield’s loan from AFC Bournemouth in time for tomorrow.

Dorch goalkeeper Alan Walker-Harris apologised to fans on Twitter following the Weston debacle, branding the performance “an absolute disgrace.”

Simkin said: “We were hoping to get something out of the game but we didn’t, so it’s no good crying about it.

“We’ll move onto the next game against Eastleigh and we are more than capable of getting something from that.”


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