It proved a frustrating afternoon for Swindon Town as they were unable to turn their dominance into a win, as Danny Whitehall’s early strike eventually proving enough to earn the hosts victory on a blistering hot today at The Silverlake Stadium.
However, First-Team Head Coach, Scott Lindsey, who chose to field a similar side to the one that ran out comfortable winners against Woking in midweek, with goalkeeper Lewis Ward and Mathieu Baudry the only omissions, admitted he was pleased with his sides performance.
Town passed well and controlled possession, but were limited to only a handful of clear-cut opportunities as Eastleigh defended well and got men behind the ball.
The only concern from the game will be injuries to Reece Devine and Harry McKirdy, but these will be assessed over the coming days and aren’t thought to be serious.
Another pre-season game out the way and some more valuable minutes on the pitch was always the aim of the day, as Lindsey used all but two of his 23-man squad.
It was a busy opening five minutes at The Silverlake, as just sixty seconds had passed when Danny Whitehall tested Lewis Ward from close range, but Town responded well and only the crossbar denied Ben Gladwin a special goal at the other end after a probing run from midfield shortly after.
Lindsey’s side were soon finding their rhythm, but suffered a sucker punch on eight minutes, when Tristan Abrahams burst into the box and crossed low for Whitehall to stroke the ball home from close range.
Town were then hit with another blow on 16-minutes, when Reece Devine was forced off with a suspected groin injury, paving the way for new signing Remeao Hutton to take his place.
The hosts forced two good chances as we approached the half-hour mark, as Ward saved from a close-range Aaron Martin header and a near-post Abraham volley.
Swindon carved out two more good opportunities as half time approached, with Jonny Williams testing Joe McDonnell in the Eastleigh goal with a powerful strike from the edge of the box, and Ben Gladwin forcing the stopper into another save with a cross/shot moments later.
The second period started in a slightly calmer fashion, with Town once again opting to get their foot on the ball and move it quickly, utilising Tyrese Shade and Hutton on the flanks.
Harry McKirdy came close to latching onto a Wakeling cross before McDonnell denied the forward again shortly after.
Tom Clayton was the next to try his luck, but his awkward, acrobatic effort was dealt with comfortably by the Eastleigh keeper, and Louis Reed’s curling effort fell just short of the far post before both managers rang the changes.
Saidou Khan, another player signed on the eve of the game, entered the fray for his first taste of football in a Swindon shirt, and Ellis Iandolo made his first appearance in a while after a lengthy spell out.
The game slowly died out as further substitutions were made, and only Ryan Hill could fathom the final chance of the game nine minutes from time, as he outmuscled Mathieu Baudry and dribbled into the area, but Lewis Ward was able to save easily from his tame shot.
It’s another pre-season warm-up game ticked off the list as the new 2022/23 season fast approaches.
Town will face Championship side Cardiff City at midday on Saturday (23 July), with another starting eleven heading to the Crucial Environmental Stadium at 3pm to face National League South outfit, Worthing.
12. Ward (GK) – 34. Brennan (31. Minturn 73mins), 26. Harries (6. Baudry 60mins), 4. Clayton, 5. Reed (17. Aguiar 73mins), 7. Gladwin © (10. Darcy 73mins), 28. Shade (3. Iandolo 60mins), 8. Williams (23. Khan 60mins), 18. Devine, 11. McKirdy (29. Parsons 63mins), 24. Wakeling (14. Massey 87mins).
Subs not used: 1. Brynn (GK), 30. Dabre.
1. McDonnell (GK) – 2. Camp, 6. Maghoma, 5. Martin, 12. Langston, 3. Kelly, 4. Trialist, 7. Carter, 10. Hesketh, 14. Abrahams, 9. Whitehall.
Subs: 13. Flitney (GK) – 8. Cisse, 11. Hill, 15. Trialist, 16. Yang Seung-woo, 17. Harper, 18. Simpson, 19. Trialist, 20. Trialist, 22. Willson, 23. Trialist, 24. Bragg.