Bognor do Baird's team talk for him

Richard Graham scores Eastleigh's opener.

Richard Graham scores Eastleigh's opener.

First published in Sport

Eastleigh boss Ian Baird didn’t need to do a team talk prior to Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Bognor Regis Town – the opposition had done it for him.

The Rocks had joined the growing list of clubs having a dig at Eastleigh’s style of play when club skipper Michael Birmingham predicted in the local Daily Echo that the Spitfires would field “a team of six-footers who can all kick the ball 75 or 80 yards.”

So how ironic that it should be two of Eastleigh’s smaller players, Richard Graham and Anthony Riviere – all 5ft 8in of them – who sentenced Bognor to a 2-0 second qualifying round defeat at the Silverlake.

With 23 minutes gone Graham pounced on the loose ball after Bognor had failed to deal with Ross Bottomley’s cross from the right, stealing in unmarked to plant a half-volley past goalkeeper Craig Stoner.

Both sides had their chances, but it was Riviere – making his second appearance off the subs’ bench after a long spell out with Achilles tendon trouble – who wrapped up victory with nine minutes to go.

And just to rub the Rocks’ noses in it, he stylishly proved that Eastleigh can actually play football as well as launch it the length of the pitch.

Full story in this week's Hampshire Chronicle.

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