James Constable netted his first Eastleigh goals as the Spitfires beat Welling United 3-1 at the Silverlake Stadium in the Vanarama Conference Premier this afternoon.
Constable scored on 25 minutes to level, slotting home from an open goal after Jai Reason had hit the post from a free kick and then powerfully headed home the winner at the start of the second half.
Malachi Hudson put the 2012/13 Conference South champions ahead on 22 minutes.
Will Evans, who’d provided the assist for Constable’s second, then bagged one himself on 89 minutes.
He went on a marauding run down the right flank and into the box. He skipped past three or four, leaving Jake Gallagher on the floor, before he nailed home into the roof of the net with his right peg.
An outstanding performance by Eastleigh keeper Ross Flitney denied the London outfit from getting anything from the match, continuing their hunt for a first win of the season.
The Spitfires now have ten points from their opening five matches.
Richard Hill made one change to the team that started the 2-1 defeat at Dover Athletic on Saturday, with Dan Spence dropping out due to injury. Evans came in to replace him.
Straight from kick off Welling moved the ball forward – Kieron St Aimie and Tyrone Marsh linking well. It resulted in Marsh curling a shot from the edge of the box. It came off Evans and out for a corner – Chris Bush powered a header just over Flitney’s goal from that.
Matt Fry – on his home debut – was on corner duty with usual taker Michael Green absent through suspension. His first kick found Paul Reid at the back-post and, in the slippery conditions, the former Northampton man couldn’t connect well enough to trouble The Wings stopper Lee Butcher.
After 15 minutes neither side looked to be taking control, although, the visitors had troubled the Spitfires defence a number of times and had fired shots from distance – none of which fazed Flitney.
But it was moments later on 17 minutes that the Eastleigh stopper was forced into proper action for the first. Harry Beautyman played through Marsh, the quick winger made a direct run before playing back to his team-mate and drove a powerful low shot at Flitney, who was able to smother the danger impressively.
Five minutes later the former Gillingham keeper’s net was penetrated to make it 1-0. St Aimie used his muscular build to hold off the tackles of Chris Todd and Reid in the box. He was able to pass to Hudson, who took one touch to set himself before curling left footed into the goal.
It didn’t take long for Eastleigh to level though. Three minutes in fact. Jai Reason curled a free kick from the edge of the box, which hit the post. Welling stopper, Lee Butcher, had already dived to save and left the goal open for Constable to slot home for his first Eastleigh goal, since moving from Oxford United, from six yards.
As the half came to a close, Eastleigh were finding their rhythm. Fry on the left went a decent run and on the side Stuart Fleetwood was troubling right back Ben Jefford. Reason was also busy trying to create space.
Overall the first period had seen the Spitfires defence look a bit wobbly with Welling pressing well and also put themselves under pressure by conceding a number of free kicks in their half. However, they finished the 45 positively.
Indeed, Eastleigh carried their momentum into second half and were ahead on just 47 minutes. Evans swung in from just past the half way line from the right. Constable rose highest to plant a powerful header into the right of the goal.
Constable – on his hat-trick – was dangerous again as Reason crossed in, but as he went head towards goal Zach Fagan was able to clear for a corner and the former Oxford United was working hard again as he skipped past several Welling defenders before squaring to Jack Midson, who lost the ball under pressure and The Wings cleared.
Whatever Hill had said them at the interval it had worked, with Eastleigh far more capable from the restart. Although, Flitney – who was in superb form all afternoon – had to get down low to palm away Chris Bush’s poke at the near post from a Beautyman corner just before the hour mark.
Apart from that the only Welling danger came when Marsh fired an effort from the edge of box that went over and Beautyman whipped in a cross that flashed across the front of the Spitfires goal, which could have easily been deflected into the net.
As the game to a close Evans netted after run into the box saw him fire into the roof of the net. Substitute Ben Wright was then greeted with space on the edge of the box. He blazed his shot well over, however.
Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Jamie Collins - booked, Chris Todd, James Constable (Craig McAllister 76), Jai Reason, Jack Midson (Ben Wright 79), Stuart Fleetwood, Ben Strevens (c), Will Evans, Paul Reid, Matt Fry. Unused subs: Yemi Odubade, Jack Smith, Lewis Noice.
Welling United: Lee Butcher, Loui Fazakerley, Jake Gallagher, Zach Fagan, Chris Bush, Harry Beautyman, Kieron St Aimie, Tyrone Marsh (Affy Obafemi 73) Ben Jefford, Sam Corne (Charlie Gorman 84), Malachi Hudson (Jon Nouble 84). Unused subs: Jamie Turner, Barney Williams.
Ref: Colin Lymer ATT: 953