Pre-season fixture 2 of 7: Saturday 6 August, Stoneham Park, Eastleigh
A prior engagement kept me away from Saturday's game; so, I have relied on the first hand accounts of those present at Stoneham Park, on Saturday morning, to piece this report together. Ryan Hurst was first to reply to my text message. He too was unable to play, although his absence, rather unfortunately, was due to an ankle injury he sustained in Wednesday's game with Sporting Bishops Waltham. This meant we were without our first choice centre halve pairing against Wessex League opponents, as Kev Willsher was also missing, having torn a shoulder muscle on Wednesday. Although Hurst's text didn't confirm the final score, it did heavily imply that we had lost: "We battled well, but so many playing out of position." 'But' was very much the operative word, and after some coaxing, Hurst did confirm that we had lost the game 5-2. Although what was rather more telling was that we were three goals down in the opening three minutes.
We are notoriously slow starters to games, a characteristic which may have been exemplified by the 10am kick-off. Lee Fielder tucked away nicely to make the half-time score far more respectable than many may have feared after the opening minutes. It was agreed that we were up against a good side. The reshuffled centre back pairing of Kristian Hewitt and his younger brother, Sam, was further tweaked when Sam went off at half-time with a knock. Marc Judd came into central defence from left back.
Locks Heath's quality was further highlighted when they scored a fourth from the edge of the box shortly after the restart. Four goals soon became five. This would be a result, that given the context of the game - missing players and quality of opposition - that most players will be able to shrug off. This couldn't be said for Martin Barnett. Not only is he based in Locks Heath, he is also one of their former players; so he would have been able to draw on these feelings to motivate himself for the match and score a goal I'm sad to have missed. Paul Dyke described it as Maradona-esque- an opinion endorsed by Ryan Hurst, who said Martin was full of nice touches in our midfield. I anticipate that we will have a larger squad for Wednesday's game with Hedge-End.