Match report

Chris Zebroski scored a perfect hat-trick as Eastleigh twice came from behind to defeat Hartlepool 4-3 at The Silverlake Stadium.

Michael Woods gave Hartlepool the lead after 8 minutes, but Ayo Obileye equalised with a deflected header; his third goal in two games.

Woods restored the visitors’ lead with a close-range header in the 29th minute, but Zebroski scored a header of his own to level it up just before the break.

Zebroski then fired Eastleigh into the lead in the 65th minute with a cool side-footed volley, before securing the points with a tap-in 15 minutes from time.

Conor Newton pulled one back for the visitors, but Andy Hessenthaler’s men held firm to make it four successive National League wins.

The match was preceded by a minute’s silence in honour of club founder Derik Brooks, who sadly passed away on Monday.

Woods scored early on after Andrew Boyce’s spectacular last-ditch tackle ricocheted into the path of Nicky Deverdics, who teed him up for the opener.

Zebroski then had the ball in the back of the net after a neat ball in from Sam Matthews, but the linesman flagged him offside.

Cavaghn Miley’s brilliant run to the byline allowed him to cross and find Matthews at the back post, but the Bournemouth loanee’s shot was saved, before Ben Williamson latched onto the rebound and had his effort turned behind for a corner.

Obileye netted a header from the resulting corner that deflected off of Sam Togwell, but still found the back of the net for Eastleigh’s equaliser after 22 minutes.

Michael Woods then restored Hartlepool’s lead with his head from point-blank range, after Newton’s nod had been saved by Ross Flitney.

Hartlepool captain Carl Magnay was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Yeates on the left wing. The winger struck the free-kick himself towards the near post, but goalkeeper Scott Loach got across to make the save.

The Spits pushed for an equaliser before the break, and almost grabbed it when Yeates surged down the left and delivered a ball in that was just too high for Matthews to get his head on at full stretch. The ball bypassed everyone, and Togwell sent in a second cross that Williamson couldn’t quite reach.

But the equaliser did arrive moments later to make it 2-2 at the break. Sam Matthews’ teasing corner delivery looped to the far post, and Zebroski was on hand to nod it into the net.

Matthews was at the forefront of Eastleigh’s attack throughout, and early in the second half he headed just over from Williamson’s cross, before forcing a save from Loach after a neat one-two with Gavin Hoyte on the right flank.

Miley was awarded player of the month before kick-off, and almost capped it off with a goal. It was Matthews again with the ball in, and Miley’s header flew narrowly wide of the post.

Yeates’ ball in was then met by Williamson, whose header ricocheted to Zebroski. The striker bagged his second of the afternoon with a cool volley from five yards out, putting Eastleigh in the lead for the first time.

The striker completed his perfect hat-trick 10 minutes later. Matthews’ ball in fizzed across the face of goal and looked to be going out for a goal kick, but substitute James Constable stretched to keep it in play and tee-up the hat-trick hero.

Hartlepool captain Carl Magnay was given his marching orders with moments left to play, having received a second yellow card for descent.

Newton struck one into the top corner for Hartlepool to make it a nervy ending for The Spits, but they held firm to secure a fourth successive league win and maintain Hessenthaler’s unbeaten record in charge.

Eastleigh remain 12th in the National League, and travel to 9th-placed AFC Fylde next time out.

Written by Ashley Gregory.

Season Stats

Top Scorers
Goals
Ben Williamson 9
Paul McCallum 5
Cavaghn Miley 5
Mark Yeates4
Chris Zebroski4