Aldershot Town picked up their first points of the 2020-21 season on Tuesday evening, with their highest ever National League away win! Danny Searle’s men scored 5 goals, without reply at Crabble, as they brushed aside Dover Athletic, thanks to braces from Mo Bettamer and Josh Rees, plus Harry Panayiotou’s key opener.
In association with LV BET, the victory lifted Shots’ from 23rd to 15th in the fledgling league table. On Saturday, they make the short trip to play unbeaten Eastleigh at the Silverlake Stadium.
Rob Worrall previews the game:
Shots’ boss Danny Searle’s main injury problem following Tuesday evening’s match concerns central defender Alex Finney, who had to be substituted early in the second half at Dover. Kodi Lyons Foster replaced him and is most likely to start if Finney doesn’t recover in time. Searle gave striker Ross McCormack a late debut at Crabble as the former Leeds and Aston Villa striker nears full fitness. Lewis Kinsella remains side-lined long term with an MCL injury and Chike Kandi is close to a return following his pre-season hamstring issue.
Name: Eastleigh FC
Founded: 1946 (as Swaythling Athletic)
Nickname: The Spitfires
Manager: Ben Strevens
Stadium: The Silverlake Stadium
2019/20 Final League Position: 17th (when season ended), 16th (on PPG, 1.24)
Eastleigh were founded in 1946 as Swaythling Athletic and played their home games on Southampton Common before moving to Westfield in Swaythling. They moved to their current Ten Acres home in 1957 and changed their name to Eastleigh in 1980 rising from the Hampshire Leagues to the Conference South in 2005. A change of ownership of the club in 2011 helped propel the Spitfires into the National League Premier in 2014 and the Silverlake Stadium has been significantly improved since.
Eastleigh are managed by former prolific EFL striker Ben Strevens, who was best known for his spells at Barnet, Dagenham & Redbridge and Gary Waddock’s Wycombe Wanderers side. He joined the Eastleigh coaching staff in 2016 as Player/Assistant Manager under Chris Todd. He then left to join Whitehawk in the National League South where he had a spell as Player/Caretaker Manager, where he had a last minute-penalty saved in one of his few games in charge. He re-joined Eastleigh in 2017, retiring from playing at the end of last season to join the coaching staff at the Spitfires, and took over from Andy Hessenthaler in October 2018, originally as Caretaker Manager, with his first game the 2-1 defeat to Aldershot at the Silverlake Stadium. He was given the job full-time a month later and went on to steer Eastleigh to the end of season play-offs in that first season. Last season the Spitfires were awarded a 16th place finish with 1.24 Points Per Game.
Strevens released just 4 players at the end of last season, including Ex-Shots striker Scott Rendell and goalkeeper Max Stryjek.
Like many National League clubs, Eastleigh have kept together the core of last season’s playing squad with 14 still at the Silverlake, including Defenders; Joe Partington & Alex Wynter, Midfielders Jack Payne & Sam Smart and striker Tyrone Barnett.
6 players became Sptifires over the summer; Goalkeeper Joe McDonnell, from Notts County, Defenders Pierce Bird (also Notts County) and Joe Tomlinson (Hungerford Town), Winger Abdulai Baggie (Weymouth) and strikers Ben House (a former Shots youngster from Reading) and Dan Smith (Bognor Regis).
Saturday’s referee is Thomas Parsons who refereed 15 National League matches last season, showing 58 Yellow Cards and 2 Red Cards.
BBC Radio Surrey will be covering the match live with online commentary from Rob Worrall who will be joined by former Shots Media Manager, Steve Gibbs as summariser. Eastleigh FC will be live streaming the match to – see their website for more details.