When the contributors were recently asked to predict the run-in, Eastleigh (h) was the fixture we were most confident about and rightly so. Sitting in 19th place and on a woeful run of form this year, the Spitfires are fortunate that their 2021 results were decent enough to keep them out of a relegation fight. This should be a home banker, but the Gulls must keep pushing against a team who we don’t beat very often. No time to take your foot off the pedal, we must turn up the intensity once again and looking at other fixtures, we simply must win!
There was disappointment all round when Tiger Tom was not on Friday’s team sheet. He’s become a real fans favourite this season (as expected to be honest!) and his bustling performances have been pivotal to the Gulls’ excellent form. It was terrific to see Asa Hall back instead and after a long time out he did very well, but it could be tough for the skipper to play again only a few days later, so the return of Tom would be very welcome. His energy and dynamism can set the tone for another fine Gulls home victory.
CREDIT TO CHIORI
In our small squad there will always be a requirement for fringe players to come in and do a job here or there, and Chiori Johnson has recently done just that. Against Notts County I thought he was tremendous, a terrier in amongst the County players, tearing into tackles and scrapping for his life. Then at Woking he filled into midfield and gave us legs to help repel Woking and help us secure 3 valuable points. Whether he plays versus Eastleigh or not, Johnson has staked a claim to be at the club longer and I’m sure Gary Johnson has appreciated his efforts.
Eastleigh will only bring a smattering of away supporters tomorrow, and they will come expecting the worst! Lee Bradbury took charge in March to try and get the Spitfires marching upward, but it hasn’t happened and his managerial duel with Gary Johnson looks a major mis-match. Players-wise very few stand out, but that’s pretty much always been the case at Eastleigh. Upfront Danny Whitehall is probably Eastleigh’s biggest threat, scoring two away at Wrexham a couple of weeks ago, whilst veteran striker Brett Pitman seems to have been around forever! Starting out in 2005 at Bournemouth, he’ll still have to be watched. A team low in confident bumbling towards the end of the season, up to us to take advantage.
LITTLE AND LEMON SHOW
Armani Little and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans are simply key men at the moment, they are not just playing brilliant individually, but also bringing the best out of each other. It’s not always been the case, sometimes the balance of the team has looked uncertain with both jostling for more touches of the ball and wanting to be the playmaker. But it has all clicked recently and big time. It’s helped having Danny Wright back to full sharpness, they know his game inside out and know when to run off the striker, whilst having a talent like Duke-McKenna alongside them just provides more for defences to think about. These guys are enjoying themselves week in week out and in this sort of form you cannot write the Gulls off!
Let’s make it noisy today, the Gulls deserve it! With the away end our domain that should help make for a lovely atmosphere, and when we are buzzing the lads feed off it. Get over to Plainmoor if you can to support the lads, let’s make it a big crowd and hopefully enjoy a big Easter win.