Opposition report: Eastleigh showing a knack of coming from behind ahead of Chesterfield trip

Eastleigh boss Ben Strevens. Pic credit: Getty Images.
Eastleigh boss Ben Strevens. Pic credit: Getty Images.

As Chesterfield came from behind to beat Aldershot Town at home on Saturday, this weekend’s opponents Eastleigh staged a fightback of their own.

A second-half Danny Hollands goal earned injury-hit Eastleigh a point at home to Hartlepool United - in what is fast becoming a season’s trait of the Spitfires.

Chesterfield FC v Eastleigh.'Eastleigh survive a last minute penalty shout when Charlie Carter is brought down.

Chesterfield FC v Eastleigh.'Eastleigh survive a last minute penalty shout when Charlie Carter is brought down.

Last weekend’s point followed a midweek win at Torquay United in a match the visitors trailed 2-1 in until 12 minutes from time, turning the game on its head to win 3-2.

Ben Strevens’ side fought back to earn points at Ebbsfleet United and at home to Bromley earlier in the month, as well as against Dagenham and Redbridge in August.

Characteristics which have undoubtably served Eastleigh well in September, having lost just once from six games that month, at AFC Fylde.

Form of late has seen Eastleigh move away from the nether regions of the National League towards midtable following an August which saw a winless five-game run.

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Eastleigh FC v Chesterfield FC; 24/11/2018 KO 15.00; Silverlake Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Spireites new boy Jordan Hallam is fouled by Eastleigh's Danny Hollands

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Eastleigh FC v Chesterfield FC; 24/11/2018 KO 15.00; Silverlake Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Spireites new boy Jordan Hallam is fouled by Eastleigh's Danny Hollands

That followed an opening day win over relegated Notts County.

But it is injuries which have blighted their season so far with the club looking at why so many of their first team players have picked up knocks in recent times.

Prior to facing Hartlepool, key players including Reda Johnson, Alex Wynter, Tyronne Barnett and Cav Miley had all been sidelined at one time or another.

“That 11 that we had were the senior boys we had available to play,” Strevens said post-match.

“Tom Bearwish, who did great the other night [scoring the injury-time winner at Torquay], was the next one.

“Boycie [Andrew Boyce] was out, Wynter was out, Reda was out, Jack McKnight was out.

“Tyronne trained yesterday [Friday], Rends [Scott Rendell] hasn’t even trained.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from those 11 fit boys. After the first 15-20 minutes, we were the better team.”

Rendell and Barnett made the substitutes bench while Miley went into the starting XI on a day when a Ben Williamson penalty denied Eastleigh three points.

Chesterfield will have to be watchful of in-form Eastleigh skipper Hollands who is in a rich vein of form in front of goal.

Saturday’s leveller was Hollands’ sixth goal in eight games.

“I believe if I’m allowed to go further forward then I’ll get my fair share of goals for the team,” the former Bournemouth, Charlton and Portsmouth midfielder said.

“Thankfully it’s happening in a short space of time.

“We play as a team and it helps to know I’ve got Payney [Jack Payne] in there backing me up.

“It gives me more of a licence to go forward. I’m just trying to make those runs and thankfully the ball is falling to me and it ends up in the back of the net.

“I’m sure there’ll be a spell when it doesn’t but at the moment I’m just enjoying it.”

Hollands was part of the Eastleigh side to stage another comeback the last time they visited the Proact Stadium in March.

An 83rd-minute Joseph Jones goal sealed a 3-2 win for the away side on that day, in their only previous trip to north Derbyshire. Paul McCallum and Andrew Boyce had earlier cancelled out Haydn Hollis and Scott Boden goals.

The only other meeting between the two sides ended 1-1 at the Silverlake Stadium. Jordan Hallam levelling for Chesterfield after Alex Wynter’s opener in November 2018.

Eastleigh team that faced Hartlepool: Max Stryjek, Joe Partington, Michael Green, Rob Atkinson, Jack Payne, Sam Smart, Cavaghn Miley, Ben Williamson, Danny Hollands (C), Charlie Seaman, Marcus Barnes. Subs: Scott Rendell, Tyrone Barnett, Ross Flitney, Tom Bearwish, Ben Scorey.