TORQUAY United are back on the winning trail after a hugely satisfying all-round performance against a powerfulEastleighside.
Toby Ajala opened the scoring on six minutes and the Gulls went on to show admirable defensive resilience after conceding some sloppy goals at home in recent outings.
Solid work at the back was rewarded with all three points, happily confirmed when Ryan Bowman nodded home in the closing minutes.
United boss Chris Hargreaves made just one change from the midweek defeat at Macclesfield, with Jordan Chapell returning from injury to take the place of Courtney Cameron. On the bench, Ashley Yeoman was preferred to Elliot Benyon.
Eastleighmanager Richard Hill made two changes from the team that overcameAldershotlast weekend, with Jamie Collins and experienced striker Jack Midson the duo coming into the side.
Within seconds,Eastleighgot themselves in a defensive tangle, as an attempted clearance ricocheted back into the path of Ryan Bowman, but credit to Spitfires’ goalkeeper Ross Flitney for quickly narrowing the angle to make a fine stop.
The visiting custodian had no chance on six minutes, however, when Bowman held the ball in the centre-circle before releasing Ajala to race forward into a huge open space vacant on the left flank.
The young winger teased his man into the penalty box and then cut onto his right side for a low shot drilled past Flitney and inside the far corner. It was the finish of a player in form and the perfect Yellow start.
Eastleighresponded with a spell of concerted pressure and Levi Ives was the brave hero in thwarting a James Constable run, launching himself across the area for goal-saving challenge and the youngster took a nasty kick to the face for his efforts.
Ives was again the saviour moments later, as a pass from Courtney Richards was intercepted by Jack Midson and United needed their full-back to watch the ball carefully before blocking the shot with a well-timed tackle.
A weaving little run from Chapell then earned the Gulls a free-kick in Luke Young territory but, for once, the shot was into the wall and deflected for a corner. This time, his delivery was back to its exemplary best and Krystian Pearce lost his man in the box, but the shot spooned into the air for a comfortable Flitney save.
The game then settled into a quiet period of solid Yellow defending in the face of some rather pedestrian build-up play by anEastleighside packed with big strong physical specimens.
When Midson did sneak in behind following a barrage of crosses into the box, Pearce was in the right place to hook clear after theEastleighforward had just reached the ball before the onrushing Martin Rice.
United responded with a Young corner that looked perfect for the unmarked Bowman, who just allowed the ball to shave off his forehead when any sort of decent contact would have been a real problem for Flitney.
The next chance for Bowman was even better, as the ball fell into his path after determined work from Louis Briscoe but the final shot was well wide of threatening the score-line.
Eastleighended the half with two chances of their own but neither Midson nor Ben Strevens could find the target from good positions, and the Gulls retained their narrow lead at the interval.
The Spitfires continued to look dangerous at the start of the second period but the Gulls stood strong, and when Young curled over an inviting free-kick at the other end, Pearce was just a fraction away from the sort of contact that would have asked a serious question of Flitney.
Referee Chris Powell then raised some temperatures inside the Launa Windows Stadium with a couple of soft decisions but relief soon took over as the main emotion, as Rice got down to save a skidding shot from former Gull Craig Stanley.
Hill decided it was time to freshen up his options, removing Strevens and Midson for the new pair of Craig McAllister and Yemi Odubade.
Eastleigh soon carved open their clearest opening of the second-half, as a tidy move saw the ball shifted wide to Stuart Fleetwood in the right channel but his shot was ballooned miles over the bar, much to the amusement of TQ1 natives.
The substitutions had failed to make much of an impression forEastleigh, prompting the introduction of Ben Wright for Fleetwood, but not before Young had shaved the outside of the post with a fizzing left-foot drive.
Hargreaves responded to the extra man inEastleigh’s attack by replacing Chapell with defender Angus MacDonald. It was a sensible ploy with the visitors turning the screw from a number of set-piece situations. When the visitors did find space for a clear header, McAllister’s effort thundered clear off the bar.
It was to prove the crucial miss, as United relieved the growing tension inside TQ1 with a searing break and, although Briscoe’s initial shot was palmed into the air by Flitney, Bowman was on hand to nod home, and seal three valuable points.
United(4-4-2): 1 Martin Rice; 29 DurrellBerry, 5 Krystian Pearce, 4 Aaron Downes, 25 Levi Ives; 12JordanChapell (21 Angus MacDonald 79), 8 Luke Young (capt), 16 Courtney Richards, 10 Toby Ajala; 7 Louis Briscoe (22 James McQuilkin 89), 9 Ryan Bowman. Substitutes (not used): 14 Ashley Yeoman, 23JordanSeabright (GK), 24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong.
Booked:Pearce 53,Berry76, Downes 78, Rice 82, Briscoe 88
Eastleigh(4-4-2): 1 Ross Flitney; 16 Will Evans, 5 Dean Beckwith (capt), 17 Paul Reid, 2 Dan Spence; 13 Stuart Fleetwood (19 Ben Wright 76), 8 Craig Stanley, 14 Ben Strevens (7 Yemi Odubade 61), 4 Jamie
Collins; 9 James Constable, 12 Jack Midson (11 Craig McAllister 61). Substitutes (not used): 6 Chris Todd, 24 Josh Helm.
Attendance:1,862 (110 away).