FA Cup: Eastleigh 3 Weston 1
- Credit: Archant
Weston saw their hopes of a place in the first round proper shattered by National League outfit Eastleigh.
Having already beaten Cowes Sports, Swindon Supermarine and Larkhall Athletic in previous rounds, the Seagulls travelled looking to cause an upset.
Manager Scott Bartlett brought Ryan Jones and Chris Knowles into the starting line-up in place of Lloyd Humphries and Nick McCootie, following their home loss to Southern League rivals Wimborne.
And Luke Purnell denied Ben House in the opening minutes of the tie – being played behind closed doors – before Sam Avery’s vital interception thwarted another home attack.
Eastleigh’s Joe Partington fired just over on nine minutes but went off soon after and Weston’s Knowles and Greg Tindle were shown yellow cards on the 20-minute mark.
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House headed over from Joe Tomlinson’s free-kick and Keiron Thomas deflected another shot behind for a corner, with Purnell pushign a shot from Dan Smith away as the home side continued to pressure.
Tomlinson fired wide from a free-kick routine just before the break as the scoreline remained blank and Tindle made a great block to prevent House opening the scoring on 56 minutes.
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But Eastleigh were awarded a penalty on the hour when Jones brought down Sam Smart and Smith fired the spot-kick high into the roof of Purnell’s net to make the breakthrough.
House doubled Eastleigh’s lead on 70 minutes, rifling a shot into the far top corner from the right side of the box, and it was 3-0 with 17 minutes to go when Tom Bearwish found space inside the box and slotted past Purnell.
Weston hit back on 81 minutes when Dayle Grubb’s corner was headed in by Knowles, but it was little consolation as the dream of landing a tie against a Football League club in the next round came to an end.
Bartlett’s men are due to return to Southern League action with a trip to Salisbury City on Tuesday and return to the Optima Stadium to host Larkhall Athletic – having already beaten them 6-0 in the FA Cup – in the FA Trophy on October 31.
Weston: Purnell, Thomas, R Jones (Hall 86), Knowles, Avery, Tindle, Jagger-Cane, Laird, Symons, Grubb, Waite. Unused subs: McGreevy, McCootie, M Jones, Humphries, Parsons, Hendy.