“Disappointed. Frustrated. Should have won. Didn’t. Gutted.”
Those seven words from manager Andy Hessenthaler succinctly summed up the mood in the Eastleigh camp after they had opened the new Vanarama National League campaign with a scarcely believable 2-1 home defeat to Solihull Moors on Saturday, report The Daily Echo.
The Spitfires were so on top first half that, but for some outrageously good goalkeeping from Ryan Boot, they could well have gone in three or four goals to the good.
Debut-making wing-back Josh Hare was here, there and everywhere, bringing the best out of Boot inside the 37 seconds.
He went on to strike the inside of the post and, along with others, provided a quality supply line for aerial powerhouse Paul McCallum who will be wondering how on earth he failed to score from open play.
Deservedly, McCallum finally got on the scoresheet from the penalty spot in the 77th minute after ex-Saint Oscar Gobern had been blatantly manhandled by Adi Yussef inside the box.
But, instead of seeing out the game professionally, Eastleigh lost their defensive shape and were floored by a double whammy from Yussef and sub Dan Sweeney in the 80th and 83rd minutes.
Hessenthaler was loath to point the finger at individuals before watching the horror story unfold again on video, but described his side’s capitulation as “criminal.”
Last term the Spitfires leaked 72 league goals, more than any side outside the division’s bottom four, and in the build-up to Saturday’s game Hessenthaler admitted: “It’s no secret that defensively we weren’t good enough.”
It looked as if all that was about to change against ex-Saint Tim Flowers’ Solihull with the back three of Reda Johnson, Andrew Boyce and new man Alex Wynter functioning well as a unit – until the team’s fatal lack of concentration late on.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Hessenthaler. “First half we murdered them but, for all our domination, we didn’t score.
“Fair play to them, they dug in and their keeper’s made some unbelievable saves.”
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