Defensive weaknesses should result in goals
FA Cup first round
The TV cameras have rocked up at the Silverlake Stadium sniffing a first-round upset in the FA Cup but those who selected this match for coverage could not have reckoned on Eastleigh’s defensive problems for the visit of Swindon.
Clearly the Robins look ripe for a giantkilling tonight.
They sit in the Sky Bet League One relegation zone and go into the game with just one win in the last eight. Swindon were also smashed 4-1 at Scunthorpe last weekend which increased the pressure on boss Luke Williams.
That’s why Coral are prepared to lay 6-4 about Swindon coming through this tie at the first attempt and they could have been in serious trouble had Eastleigh managed to field their strongest 11.
However, Eastleigh manager Ronnie Moore admitted it was a blow that right-back Joe Partington and crack centre-back Ryan Cresswell are both suspended for the National League promotion hopefuls.
Moore’s men still carry a forward threat and with that in mind a bet on three or more goals appeals most at 5-6.
Swindon supporters have to be nervous heading into the clash.
Williams has watched his side struggle to turn their possession into points on too many occasions this season and recently switched from a back three to a flat back four in a 4-2-3-1 shape.
A 3-0 win over Rochdale suggested it was the right move but a 2-0 defeat against Walsall was followed by the hammering at leaders Scunthorpe.
Scunny are better than Eastleigh but it’s hard to have a great deal of confidence in the Robins after they were totally run ragged.
Skipper Nathan Thompson was switched to right-back and his absence was felt at the heart of the defence as Conor Thomas and Raphael Branco struggled for the vast majority of the 90 minutes.
Had it not been for goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux things could have been even worse for Town and more changes need to happen defensively tonight with Darnell Furlong suspended.
Furlong switched from right-back to the other flank last week and the team looks a bit of a mess, so it’s just as well that Michael Doughty returned from a spell on the sidelines during the second half at Glanford Park.
Doughty is a class act and will add drive to Town, while players such as Yaser Kasim and Sean Murray can shine with Swindon dropping down two levels.
Experience won’t be a problem for Eastleigh given the wise old heads in their squad and 41-year-old Jamie Cureton should lead the line alongside Ryan Bird.
Eastleigh, battered 4-0 at Barrow last time out, have been much better at home where only Dagenham have shut them out.
However, eighth-placed Eastleigh have played six matches against the sides above them and are yet to win this season.
Over 2.5 goals
1pt 5-6 BetBright, Paddy Power
Ryan Cresswell and Joe Partington are both suspended for the non-league side.
Darnell Furlong is suspended and Jon Obika is definitely ruled out. Jordan Stewart, Jordan Young, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Tom Smith have all returned from injury but the quartet still lack match fitness.
Eastleigh have scored in eight of their nine home matches this season