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Eastleigh just five points away from Skrill South championship
Updated 10:48pm Tuesday 8th April 2014 in Sport
Eastleigh need just five points from as many games to be crowned champions of the Skrill Conference South.
A frantic 2-1 win over title rivals Bromley means Richard Hill’s side are on the brink of the Conference Premier.
In the biggest game in the club’s history hot-form striker Ben Wright bagged a brace, one from range and the other from the penalty spot, pushing his total to 12 goals since arriving on loan from Salisbury in February.
This match had been billed as a winner takes all promotion clash, but following a string of injuries and poor form, Bromley let slip an 11 point lead last month and allowed the Spitfires to open up a healthy gap at the summit, taking most of the pressure off themselves ahead of this match.
Eastleigh now have an eight point lead at the top of the table with one game in hand over Sutton United in second and the Ravens in third.
That means they have to get to 84 points, they’re now on 79, to be officially promoted to the Conference Premier for the first time in their history.
It could even be as early as this weekend that Eastleigh, depending on results elsewhere, will go up.
Dean Beckwith returned to the side and Ben Strevens replaced the injured Jamie Collins for this clash of the titans.
Ravens top-scorer Bradley Goldberg, son of manager Mark, hit the bar as the home-side worked the ball forward straight from kick off, the loan man from Dagenham & Redbridge popped a curling effort over Ross Flitney, which pinged out for a goal-kick off the frame.
The breakneck start continued as Michael Green crossed to the back post, winning a corner. The clearance from that saw Bromley break away as Brendan Kiernan forced Flitney into action, palming his shot away after the Spitfires lost possession - Glen Southam failed to control the ball on the halfway line.
Kiernan then saw a fizzing header from Joe Anderson’s cross fly narrowly wide, Bromley had fired seven shot at the Eastleigh goal within the first 15 minutes.
But despite that pressure Eastleigh got the all-important first on 16 minutes. Wright picked up the ball from Craig McAllister. His first time shot from the edge of the box glided neatly over ‘keeper Joe Welch, hitting the roof of the net for his eleventh goal.
Another well delivered cross from Anderson found Pierre Joseph-Dubois, he controlled and shot at Flitney’s near-post, the former Gillingham ‘keeper pulling off a reaction save.
Green and Stuart Fleetwood linked up well with the former curling a low cross in, which Swaine spooned out; it really could have gone anywhere.
Fleetwood then limped out just before half-time with Alfreton loan man Daniel Wishart his replacement.
As the break approached Eastleigh were pegged back. Right-back Dan Spence handled the ball as he attempted to mop up danger from Bromley, he should have cleared his lines a lot earlier but turned and almost dipped his hand on to the ball.
The resulting free-kick, taken by Anderson, saw Swaine plant a header past the outstretch arms of Flitney as he towered over Ben Strevens to level on the stroke of the half- Bromley finally making their pressure pay.
Anderson continued where he left off from the restart, causing Spence considerable bother down the Eastleigh right.
But, in a similar story to the first-half, Richard Hill’s side scored just as the Ravens pressured them. This time Wright fired in a well struck penalty, after Wishart had been fouled by Dean Pooley, firing past Welch to the left of the stopper.
Swaine flicked on to Joseph-Dubois to see the forward go one-on-one, but after messing up his shot the Spitfires were able to clear.
It another nervy moment for the away-side at Joseph-Dubois weaved through once more, but for a block by Beckwith it would have been a goal. The resulting corner saw substitute Elliott Buchanan fire a shot at Flitney, the ‘keeper held well.
Reason saw a shot deflect out for a corner and despite a few other nerve-shredding moments Eastleigh ran out victorious.
Eastleigh: Flitney, Spence, Green, Strevens, Beckwith, Todd, Reason, Southam, McAllister (Odubade 45), Wright, Fleetwood (Wishart 41) Unused subs: Noice, Evans, Dillion
Bromley: Welch, Pooley, Anderson, Waldren, Swaine, Bailey-Dennis (Buchanan 74), Joseph-Dubois, Nicholls, May (Reid 82), Goldberg, Kiernan (Dennis 65) Unused subs: Holland, Fuseini
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