Forest Green held down at the Spitfires
Christian Doidge saw his first half header cancelled out as Forest Green and Eastleigh once again couldn’t be separated at the Silverlake Stadium, writes Richard Joyce.
As was the case at The New Lawn earlier in the season, it was a goal apiece and a point each as the Spitfires fought back with the two goals coming in the first half.
Doidge’s excellent header had put FGR in front in Hampshire. However Eastleigh levelled when they scored from a tricky corner.
An uneventful opening saw neither side make any mark on the game, but an FGR attack on 24 minutes proved to be the goal the game needed to spark into life, and it was Doidge who secured it.
Keanu Marsh-Brown’s excellent cross from the right was met by the Welsh forward for goal number 14 of the campaign.
Eastleigh were almost gifted the chance to level straight away. The ball was stolen from Manny Monthe in the box, and former Sunderland striker Mikael Mandron was foiled by a terrific Sam Russell save.
Liam Noble’s audacious 45-yard chip almost caught out Eastleigh’s former Arsenal stopper Graham Stack shortly after down the other end before the hosts drew level from a corner.
A dangerous Luke Coulson corner caused havoc for the FGR bodies looking to get the ball clear in the box, and the ball squeezed in under the bar.
The Forest Green reply was almost instant. Marsh-Brown, cutting in from the left, had Stack at full stretch to push away his corner bound effort.
From the subsequent corner, Eastleigh won the ball and broke quickly, but saw Dale Bennett’s perfectly timed lunge deny Hakeem Odoffin who had been set up with a clear shot on goal.
On the stroke of the interval Charlie Cooper came close to slamming in his first goal in Rovers colours, but courageous defending denied him, and Doidge’s follow up was also blocked.
Again in the second half the match took time to get going, but after Cooper’s header had been cleared, Dan Wishart forced Stack into action with a well-produced volley that was pushed out for a corner.
Marsh-Brown was thwarted just past the hour mark, and at the other end Ben Strevens missed a big opportunity for the hosts, as his diving header fizzed wide after he had done well to meet Coulson’s cross.
Eastleigh debutant Darius Henderson headed over in the final ten minutes, as his second half strike partner Mandron spurned a massive opportunity minutes later, drilling a low shot wide.
Time was running out in the hunt for a winner. But it was FGR who very nearly claimed one.
Shamir Mullings met Marcus Kelly’s wonderful cross from the left, although couldn’t direct his attempt when sliding in on target with the goal gaping.
Doidge saw a stoppage time header scrape over the crossbar as Rovers looked to win it at the death but for the second time this season both teams shared the points.
Report: Richard Joyce
Photo: Shane Healey/Pro Sports Images