Despite a brave performance from huge underdogs Bournemouth Poppies FC, conference side Eastleigh progressed to the fourth round of the Hampshire Senior Cup, overturning a 1-0 deficit to win 3-1.
The ground and facilities at Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium are a far cry from Bournemouth’s Victoria Park, making it a special occasion for the players of the away side, as they had the opportunity to test themselves against professionals.
Hosts Eastleigh boasted a strong side at the stadium, containing several former football league players, such as Danny Hollands, a former first-team midfielder for AFC Bournemouth and Portsmouth.
Despite this, the Poppies found themselves going in 1-0 up at halftime courtesy of a well placed finish by striker Eder Batista.
The scoreline at the break was a reward for a strong opening period showing from Bournemouth, but the second period saw the difference in physicality between the two teams tell.
Sutton United loanee Bradley Hudson-Odoi was a constant threat for Eastleigh down the right wing, whilst young midfielder Cavanagh Miley found pockets of space in the Poppies defence that allowed him to wreak havoc.
The Wessex Premier League side continued their defensive efforts in the second period, but an Eastleigh goal increasingly looked just a matter of time.
The Poppies resolve was finally broken, as Miley found space in the box, before dinking the ball over goalkeeper Jake Poynter to calm the increasingly restless home crowd in the 67th minute.
The Spitfires took the lead just minutes later as Miley scored his second of the evening, with a drilled effort from the edge of the box.
Eastleigh completed the scoring for the night in the 75th minute, as former West Ham striker Paul McCallum latched onto a knock down by target man Craig McAllister, before rifling an effort into the bottom corner.
As the full time whistle blew, the home spectators aimed their applause towards the away team after a spirited battle, leaving the Poppies with much to be optimistic about ahead of the rest of the league campaign, where they currently sit 12th in the table.
Bournemouth Poppies captain for the night, Chris Speers, and goalkeeper, Jake Poynter, spoke to BUzz news about the defeat.