Nuneaton Town 0 Eastleigh 3
Saturday 9th August, 2014.
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
Well the saying goes that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Brian Reid is just a matter of four games into his rebuilding process at Nuneaton Town...it is inevitable that hiccups like this will occur along the way.
Looking at the cold, hard facts, the result does not look good for the Boro – a team many are tipping for relegation this season.
But, delve a little deeper and you will see that it was not all bad news for Reid and his new side on Saturday, there were some reasons to be cheerful.
The scoreline obviously, was not one of them, but the way the Boro knocked it around was.
If Jorrin John could have smashed home his close-range effort and not hit the bar, then who knows, maybe the Boro could be celebrating a 3-0 win instead of consolidating after suffering one.
This was always going to be a tough test for Nuneaton, especially with the money their guests have been throwing around this summer.
For Conference new boys, Eastleigh did not look like nerves were affecting them at all.
They were asking most of the early questions in the opening minutes.
It was the new-look Nuneaton though, who came closest to breaking the deadlock – and it was one of their five debutantes who had the chance.
A cross from the left-hand side eluded Andy Brown in the box, but it fell nicely for John coming in at the far post.
The wing-back smashed the ball sweetly, but it met the crossbar – and not the back of the net – much to the horror of the former Leicester City man.
It was all Nuneaton at this stage, but the opening goal came from Eastleigh nonetheless.
A static defence thought that Jai Reason was offside when a scuffed shot found him clear in the box. New keeper Reice Charles-Cook came to narrow the angle, but Reason still managed to prod the ball past him, giving Eastleigh their first goal of the new season.
Nuneaton were up against it after the goal as their former lower league guests had their tails up.
They held on though, and started to ask more questions as the half wore on.
The closest the Boro came to drawing level was with about five minutes to go in the half. An up-and-under by Gaz Dean found Adam Walker in the box, but the midfield man could only poke it out of play as Ross Flitney rushed out.
The Boro must have had a stern word from boss Brian Reid at the break as they came out like a team possessed in the second half.
The problem was that they were not creating any real goalscoring chances with their possession.
That gave Eastleigh hope and in the 56th minute they made the most of that hope by grabbing their second goal of the game.
Craig Stanley was the scorer, picking his spot from the edge of the box and sending a sweet curling effort past the diving Charles-Cook and into the back of the net.
Reid tried to freshen things up after the goal, bringing on Ben Hutchinson and going to a 4-3-3 formation – but whatever the manager did the chances were not materialising.
Eastleigh were not seeing much of the ball, but they had the goals needed to give them comfort.
And things were soon to get a lot more comfortable for Richard Hill's side.
Just like the first goal, the third was one that left the Boro fuming as Theo Streete was adjudged to have ran the ball out for a throw-in by the corner flag.
Eastleigh managed to work the set-piece to a crossing position where it was flung in – finding Ben Strevens unmarked – and despite the calls for off-side once again, he was allowed to smash it home past Charles-Cook from close range.
The goal signalled the end of the game as a competitive affair as neither side went for it after that.
Reid will be hoping that it was just a case of opening day nerves – and nothing more sinister.