FC Halifax Town were unable to reach the Third Round of the FA Cup after a 2-0 defeat to Eastleigh at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Eastleigh now face a trip to Brentford in the next round after goals from Scott Wilson and Mikael Mandron helped the Spitfires knock out the Shaymen.
The opening five minutes didn’t produce any clear-cut chances for either side although the Shaymen did see the majority of the ball, with wingers Richard Peniket and Matty Kosylo having plenty of time with the ball at their feet.
Jordan Sinnott did test Ryan Huddart in the Eastleigh goal on the tenth minute when his cross nearly lobbed the on-loan Arsenal keeper, but the 19-year old was able to punch the ball away from danger.
Peniket’s dangerous ball into the area looked like it was destined to meet the path of fellow winger Kosylo but the former Nantwich man left it for Tom Denton. This turned out to be the wrong option as Eastleigh were able to clear. The opening 15 minutes definitely showed some positives for the home side, who looked comfortable on and off the ball.
Luke Coulson produced the Spitfires first real chance, dancing past Moyo on the left wing, before trying to curl the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box. However, the ball skewed wide of the top corner.
Halifax’s dominance nearly paid off in the 20th minute. Steven Drench cleared the ball straight into the path of Kosylo who surged towards goal before turning his man inside out. His low shot from just inside the box was well struck, but Huddart did just as well to get down to the ground and prevent his side from going a goal down.
Eastleigh started to mount the pressure on the Halifax defence around the halfway point of the first half. Jai Reason and Coulson looked threatening but the defensive duties of Scott Garner and Cliff Moyo helped the Shaymen stay in a comfortable position.
However, Eastleigh eventually did break down Halifax’s defence to an extent. A Halifax corner was cleared and Eastleigh started to attack on the counter. The ball found Joe Partington whose low shot from outside the box clattered with the right hand post, giving everyone in the South Stand a sigh of relief. The man who nearly scored then clattered into Sinnott, who had to be taken off the pitch, with Josh MacDonald replacing him.
Despite the Shaymen’s positive performance in the opening 45, it was the Spitfires who opened the scoring. A low cross from the right hand evaded the Halifax defenders and met the feet of Wilson, who had the easy task of putting the ball into the open net.
The referee then sparked controversy just before halftime, awarding Eastleigh a penalty after MacDonald apparently fouled James Constable. Many Halifax fans were shocked by the decision but this didn’t affect Mikael Mandron. The former Sunderland man fired the ball into the right corner to put his side 2-0 up.
Halifax nearly started the second half just the way they wanted. Peniket scrambled for a loose ball, and was able to just about get a shot away. His attempt was cleared off the line before MacDonald's follow-up volley appeared to be blocked by an Eastleigh hand. The referee waved away the claims and once again riled up the home crowd.
The game then died down in terms of action, with both sides seeing their fair share of possession, but being unable to create chances. Liam King had a go from just outside the box after Peniket’s lay-off, but his shot lacked power and was an easy collection for Huddart.
Eastleigh’s defence remained compact for the remainder of the game, with the Shaymen unable to break it down – the centre-back partnership of Connor Essam and Reda Johnson working wonders for the Spitfires in the second half.
Things then went from bad to worse for Halifax as Scott Garner was sent off for an elbow at Jai Reason, with not many complaints coming from the Halifax fans.
Eastleigh then nearly made it 3-0 minutes later when Constable was played through. His dink over Drench looked like it was trickling in but Nathan Hotte did well to get back and clear off the line.
Constable was then gifted another golden opportunity seconds later. He received the ball just inside the area but his low shot was saved well by a diving Drench.
Peniket had the chance to grab a late consolation goal in the dying minutes after receiving Wilde’s cross, however his downwards header was just caught by Eastleigh’s shot-stopper.
Eastleigh now face a trip to Griffin Park to face Brentford in the Third Round while Halifax next play AFC Telford United at home next Saturday.
FC Halifax Town:1. Drench, 2. Moyo, 3. Wilde, 4. King (c) (Hibbs, 69’), 5. Hotte, 6. Garner, 7. Kosylo (Simmons, 59’), 8. Lynch, 9. Denton, 10. Sinnott (MacDonald, 33’), 11. Peniket
Subs not used:12. Nicholson, 15. Hone, 18. Khan, 19. Barrows
Eastleigh:13. Huddart, 6. Pipe, 15. Coulson (Obileye, 75’), 18. Wilson (Dugdale, 64’), 27. Johnson, 2. Partington, 4. Essam, 10. Reason, 3. Green, 19. Mandron (Bird, 59’), 9. Constable
Subs not used:33. Whittington, 35. Bearwish
Goals:Wilson (43’), Mandron (45+2’)
Yellow Cards:Partington (31’), King (40’), Hotte (50’), Kosylo (52’), Dugdale (73’), Lynch (84’)
Red Cards:Garner (84’)
Man of the Match:Nathan Hotte