RICHARD Hill’s Eastleigh side arrested their recent slump in emphatic fashion at the Silverlake Stadium last night as they dished out a 5-0 beating to Billericay.
Winless since November 3 and second to bottom in the Blue Square Bet South table prior to last night’s clash, the Spitfires claimed revenge for a 4-0 defeat earlier in the season at New Lodge – which proved to be Ian Baird’s final game in charge.
The result was never in doubt on a drizzly night in front of Eastleigh’s lowest league gate of the season after debutant centre half Dean Beckwith had nodded in a seventh minute corner past scrambling keeper Sam Beasant, watched from the stands by father Dave.
Beckwith was impressive at both ends and alongside fellow newcomer Alex Lacey, voted man of the match, shored up what had become a leaky defence and helped young returning keeper Jack Dovey to keep a well deserved clean sheet.
Eastleigh’s assistant manager Guy Butters could not be drawn to name any stand out players, but instead hailed the performance of the entire side.
“Everyone was on it tonight,” he said.
“We know we have the players here to get us up the league and this one was for the fans as they deserve it.”
Damian Scannell netted twice and will try to claim a hat-trick although the bizarre fourth goal will go down as a Beasant howler after Scannell’s quickly taken corner dropped over the line.
By then the Essex side were well beaten as Jai Reason and Scannell had tormented the defence all night, the latter walking round Beasant just past the half hour to net a cool second.
Moments after the third goal referee Pottage limped off and after the ten minute delay Corey King had a header tipped onto the post, but the respite was short as a Reason backheel found Scannell who stabbed home the fourth.
A fifth from close range by Mark Hughes was the icing on a long awaited new year cake for the Spitfires – with th victory seeing Eastleigh leap to 16th in the Blue Square Bet South standings.
“It was a workmanlike performance and we proved we have good players at this club” added Butters.
“We rolled our sleeves up and won all the battles. Corey King and Jack Dovey came in and did well and we were solid at the back.”