MATCH REPORT | Eastleigh 4-1 Wealdstone
It was a dream start for Eastleigh boss Lee Bradbury as his Spitfires side beat Wealdstone 4-1 at the Silverlake Stadium.
An early free kick from Danny Whitehall gave the hosts a first half lead before Ryan Hill doubled that just after the break.
Charles Clayden grabbed his first Wealdstone goal moments later but hopes of a comeback were shelved by goals from Tom Broadbent and Eastleigh skipper Danny Hollands.
Stones boss Stuart Maynard opted for an unchanged starting eleven and subs bench from the side that drew 1-1 with Torquay United last week.
However, hopes of a repeat result already looked unlikely when Whitehall curled a 20-yard free kick into the bottom corner just ten minutes in.
With the wind favouring the hosts it was hard for the Stones to carve out any first half opportunities. Brennan Camp certainly had the wind carry his cross over Wickens and off the crossbar on 41 minutes, letting Wickens breathe a sigh of relief.
A change of system at half time and the Stones almost grabbed an equaliser within five minutes. Nathan Ferguson's cross was met by Josh Umerah at the front post but Spitfires keeper Joe McDonnell managed to scramble it away from point-blank range.
The Stones were made to rue that chance just moments later when Hill was played through on goal who then dinked past the outrushing Wickens to make it 2-0.
Just six minutes later the Stones halved the deficit with a moment of quality from the two Charlton Athletic loanees. Aaron Henry picked out a pinpoint cross-field ball to Clayden who cut inside, beat two defenders and then slotted past McDonnell.
This hard work to get back in the game was undone on 62 minutes when Eastleigh defender Broadbent nodded in from close range from a corner.
More corner woes came five minutes later when a short one was taken to Spitfires captain Hollands who scooped the ball over Wickens from a very tight angle to make it 4-1.
The Stones did recover and almost grabbed a goal back when David Sesay played Umerah in on goal, his effort came off the post and then Ferguson's rebound was skied over the bar.
Ira Jackson had a strong penalty claim in added time after going down from contact when about to shoot but the referee Adrian Quelch was not convinced.
Wealdstone have a quick turnaround in games to bounce back as they head to Maidenhead United's York Road on Tuesday evening for a 7:45pm kick off.
WEALDSTONE: Wickens, Tavares (Mundle-Smith 46), Cook (c), McAvoy, Sesay, Charles (Cooper 63), Henry, Ferguson, Clayden, Browne (Jackson 69), Umerah.
Subs not used: Okimo, Dyer.
Attendance: 2,615 (including 190 Wealdstone supporters)
Report by Chris Woods