Hartlepool United 1- 2 Eastleigh FC
Mark Yeates’s spectacular half volley was enough to see Eastleigh end their winless run as the Spitfires defeated Hartlepool 2-1 in the Vanarama National league.
Both sides began the match strongly as a heavy foul committed by Danny Hollands on Jonathan Franks was swiftly followed by a late challenge from Nicky Featherstone who brought down Sam Wood in the opening minutes of the game.
Eastleigh captain Callum Howe was in a constant battle with Pool’s forward Rhys Oates with the skipper having to make several challenges on the striker to win possession in the opening ten minutes.
The Spitfires continued to cut out Hartlepool’s offence as the home side began to press for an opener following a succession of corners in the 20th minute.
Ayo Obileye filled in at right back for the Spitfires with Gavin Hoyte still out with an injury, Obileye managed to keep Franks quiet for the majority of the first half with the defender showing his prowess in the air.
Following some good spells of possession from both sides the game began to decrease in speed towards the half an hour mark with Hartlepool struggling to create any chances once moving the ball into the last third.
The first clear chance of the game fell to the Pool’s as Ryan Donaldson sent his powerful strike over the cross bar in the 32nd minute after the winger cleverly found space on the edge of Eastleigh’s 18 yard box.
Hartlepool once again nearly drew first blood after Donaldson tricked his way down the wing past Sam Wood and played an enticing ball across the six yard box, the ball was begging to be finished but Oates failed to convert the chance as the ball went out for an Eastleigh throw in.
Both sides looked evenly matched at the half time whistle with neither team managing to create any clear cut chances in front of goal.
The second half picked up straight from the first with both sides evenly battling for possession in midfield.
But it was the Spitfires who took the lead after Gary McSheffrey’s beautifully waited cross was met by a lunging Zebroski, the forwards effort was neatly saved by Loach resulting with a corner to Eastleigh. Mark Yeates floated in a delightful corner which following an intense goal mouth scramble was poked into the back of the net by captain Callum Howe in the 46th minute.
Hartlepool almost equalised instantly as Rhys Oates’s diving header just glanced wide of the post following an inviting ball from Nicky Deverdicks.
Eastleigh made the Pool’s pay for their missed chance as Mark Yeates pulled out a spectacular half volley on the edge of the 18 yard box to put the Spitfires 2-0 up in the 51st minute.
Hartlepool needed some fire power which was emphasised as they substituted on two strikers in the 53rd and 57th minute, academy graduate Connor Simpson and forward Devante Rodney replaced Rhys Oates and Lewis Hawkins.
The Pool’s once again came close to creating a chance but an excellent challenge from Andrew Boyce in the 18 yard box saw Donaldson stopped from firing at goal.
Graham Stack was forced to make an incredible save as he denied Deavante Rodney from close range in the 67th minute to keep the score at 2-0.
Hartlepool continued to squander their chances as another effort by substitute Connor Simpson was fired wide after the striker had managed to get through on goal in the 68th minute.
Eastleigh looked to see out their clean sheet as substitutes Strevens and McAllister were brought on to replace Danny Hollands and Chris Zebroski.
Both sides made their final substitution in the 77th minute as Jack Munns replaced Ryan Donaldson for Hartlepool and Sam Matthews replaced goal scorer Mark Yeates for Eastleigh.
However the Pools managed to fire in a consolation goal in the 89th minute as substitute Jack Munns fired an inch perfect shot into the bottom corner of the Eastleigh goal from the edge of the box to leave the game with an intense finish.
This win now sees Eastleigh move ahead of Hartlepool in the table as the Spitfires will now look to their next league game against Chester FC.
Eastleigh- Stack, Wood, Constable, Yeates, Xebroski, Obileye, Hollands, Boyce, Cavanagh, Howe (c) McSheffrey
Subs- Strevens, Reid, Stearn, McAllister, Matthews
Hartlepool- Loach, Magnay, Featherstone, Donaldson, Oates, Franks, Woods, Deverdicks, Donnelly, Laing, Hawkins
Subs- Adams, Munns, Richardson, Rodney, Simpson.