Eastleigh and Chorley play out stalemate in rain-soaken affair


Visitors Chorley made it four successive goal-less draws as they held Eastleigh 0-0 at the Silverlake.

Rain was the winner as both sides fell victim to a constant downpour that never halted. In a match that lacked quality and energy, mostly down to the weather, Chorley came away the happier of the two  teams.

Spitfire captain Danny Hollands thought he snatched Eastleigh the three points at the death only for the flag to be raised. In a dogged affair, the two teams huffed and puffed but lacked the quality to take the maximum points.

Both sides remain where they were at the start of the day, Eastleigh in 13th position and Chorley 23rd respectively.


Prior to kick-off, the home side approached the fixture in confident mood. Unbeaten in four games and amassing 10 points in that period, it was fair to say Eastleigh had settled their season down following an erratic start. The first two months saw Ben Strevens’ side battle for form and consistency, with goals extremely hard to come by.

But a recent upturn in form now saw the Spitfires one point away from the play-offs and a renewed optimism found at the Silverlake stadium.

Meanwhile, visitors Chorley are yet to have their spark ignited this campaign. With just one victory in the 16 games, the Lancashire-based side languished in 23rd place, three points adrift from safety.

Eastleigh, who were unchanged from their previous outing against Maidenhead, started the brighter, utilising both flanks to their advantage. The Spitfires knew Chorley had shown an air of vulnerability from crosses throughout the season and today was no different.

Despite the initial start from the hosts, Chorley grew into the game. With the consistent rainfall making things tricky when in possession, the Lancashire side opted to use the more direct approach.

In the 20th minute, Chorley had the first real chance of note when Marcus Carver beat the offside trap. The striker’s lofted shot shocked Max Stryjek into action, diving to his left and managing to parry the ball from danger.

A minute later Carver got in behind the Eastleigh defence again, but was unable to direct his effort towards goal. Scoring only 12 goals all season, it was clear that confidence in front of goal was short for the visitors.

With the match showing signs of coming alive following a turgid opening, Eastleigh registered their first shot on target. Southampton loanee Marcus Barnes flicked his header goal-bound, forcing Matt Urwin into a fine reaction save.

Despite the glimmer, the rest of the first-half was tough watching for the 2000-odd in attendance. Chorley trudged down the mud-soaken tunnel the happier, looking relatively comfortable for the most part. Meanwhile, their counterparts looked lifeless and void of any ideas.


Marcus Barnes’ header came closest for the hosts in the first half – photo: @_GSPhotography/Twitter

Barnes had the first opportunity after the break when a mazy run from Rob Atkinson resulted in the forward releasing a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. But Barnes’ scuffed effort rolled slowly past the post.

However, the interval seemed to have switched Eastleigh on. Playing with a faster tempo and renewed vigour, the Spitfires were forcing Chorley backwards.

Despite Eastleigh’s endeavour, the rain continued to torment, with the ball holding up in the pitch more and more regularly.

With 20 minutes to go, referee Samuel Allison stopped play to talk to the two managers in regards to the continual downpour. Although Allison opted against postponing the match, the pitch was quickly becoming near-on unplayable.

Perhaps those of that opinion were justified a minute later when Chorley broke beyond Eastleigh’s back-line. Full-back Matt Challoner attempted to get the ball out of his feet, but the ball refused to move.

With manager Ben Strevens now playing with three strikers, captain Danny Hollands saw his looping header go over the bar.

Hollands then thought he scored the all important goal a minute from time. His acrobatic bicycle kick beat Urwin in the Chorley goal – not bad for a 33-year-old. But much to the home fans disappointment, the flag had already been raised for offside.

In stoppage time, Eastleigh hit the post after Jack Payne’s out-swinging corner was deflected off a Chorley shirt, hitting the upright.

That was it for the two sides as they fell victim to the extreme weather conditions. Chorley were now unbeaten in four, all goal-less draws.

Team Lineups:

Eastleigh (5-3-2): Stryjek; Smart (Seaman 78′), Partington, Boyce, Atkinson, Green; Payne, Hollands, Miley (Rendell 84′); Barnett, Barnes (Williamson 70′)

Subs unused: Flitney, Bearwish


Chorley (5-3-2): Urwin; Challoner, Ross, Meppen-Walter, Baines, Blakeman; Dodds (A.Newby 60′), Cottrell (c), Nortey; Carver (Massanka 60′), Holroyd (O’Keefe 87′)

Subs unused: E.Newby, Eccles

Attendance: 2053


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

Comments are closed.