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Saturday 9th August – Thurrock 0 – 1 Eastleigh
Luke Byles’ 82nd minute header was enough to gift Eastleigh with the points in a game which on another day, would have seen the home side win by a margin.
Having lost 4-1 at Ship Lane in their last League fixture, Eastleigh started with caution and it showed as it took 14 minutes for the first shot of the game, coming from Andy Harris’ 25 yard effort which sailed wide.
The home side responded 5 minutes later when debutant Hakeem Araba forced a terrific save from Jason Matthews.
60 seconds later, Rhys Henry’s through ball found Che Stadhart who looked to have been pulled down by Tom Jordan but the referee waved play on and the front man managed to force another save out of Matthews in the away goal.
In the 26th minute, after Nicky Greene’s 20 yard effort was deflected out for a corner, Fola Orilonishe floated in the set piece towards Rob Swaine who was felled but again the referee waved play on.
Thurrock came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 60th minute when Araba collided with Matthews and Jordan on the edge of the box. The ball rolled wide to Stadhart whose effort was cleared off the line by Ashley Vickers. The rebound fell to the feet of Henry, but his goalbound flick was cleared off the line by a diving header, again from Vickers.
Moments later, Henry once again created space, and his superb through ball gifted Orilonishe a one-on-one opportunity, but again Matthews did well to save, and clear for another corner.
Then on 82 minutes, and completely against the run of play, Trevor Challis’ first time cross from the left was headed home by Byles at the far post for the visitors first shot on target.