United competed for the entire ninety minutes at the Silverlake Stadium but came out on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat.
Goals from Jamie Cureton, Andy Drury, and Ryan Bird made sure that all three points stayed In Hampshire.
Striker Nathan Blissett returned to the starting line-up which featured all three United strikers with Brett Williams playing just behind ‘Bliss’ and Reid. Kevin Nicholson and Giancarlo Gallifuoco played either side of Sean McGinty and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner. Joe Ward and ‘GG’ were named in the starting line-up despite reporting illness in the lead-up to the game. Charlie Duke and Billy Palfrey joined Sam Chaney, Jamie Robba, and Jamie Chamberlain on the bench.
Eastleigh racked up numerous corners in the first fifteen minutes without threatening to open the scoring. Jamie Reid responded by trying to catch out Eastleigh goalkeeper Ryan Clarke who was off his line. His effort went wide of the far post.
Reid went frustratingly close once again in the 24th minute when he tried his luck from around thirty yards. It looked like it was going to just go over the bar but at the last moment it dipped and cannoned off the woodwork.
Defender Lathaniel Rowe-Turner had to be alert in the 28th minute when Jai Reason fired a shot at goal. Eastleigh were starting to show a little more composure and attacking intent but United were still holding them at bay.
Brett Williams had some license to roam from his position just behind Jamie Reid and Nathan Blissett. He picked up the ball from just inside his own half and turned one playing and took the ball twenty yards before being pulled down.
Luke Young lined up a free kick in the 41st minute but couldn’t find the target. He aimed for the near post but missed it by a couple of feet.
Just before half-time Giancarlo Gallifuoco tested Ryan Clarke from the edge of the box. Clarke had to get down smartly to his left to tip the ball out of play.
Cureton opened the scoring soon after the half-time break.
Cureton ghosted between McGinty and Rowe-Turner and nodded the ball past Moore to score his first goal for the Spitfires. It was Eastleigh’s first shot on goal.
Nathan Blissett and Jamie Reid combined in the 68th minute. Blissett sent Reid racing away with a defender hot on his heels. The angle was narrow and Clarke was there to make the save once again.
Reid and Williams exchanged some neat passes on the edge of Eastleigh’s box soon after but the move broke down at the vital moment.
With United pushing for the equalizer, Eastleigh went close to scoring their second goal.
Coulson forced Moore into a save and the ball came out to Cureton who’s effort was blocked by Rowe-Turner. Next, Coulson found Constable on the break and he looked likely to score. His shot went past the far post.
Williams conjured up a fantastic run soon after. His shot was deflected wide of goal but he beat three defender along the way.
United forced Eastleigh into some panicky defending in the 82nd minute. Shots from Young, and then Nicholson pushed Eastleigh into some frantic defending in their own box.
Then came the decision that took the game away from United.
Defending a corner, Williams took a touch wide of the 6 yard box. Moore dived onto the ball and the referee judged that it was a back pass. United weren’t happy and neither were the Yellow Army. A question also remains over where the ball was placed for the free-kick.
Coulson passed to Drury who found the back of the net to take the game away from United.
Ryan Bird converted Eastleigh’s third after Moore beat out a shot on goal.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson was far from happy with the way the second goal came about. United were still In the game at that point and were readying themselves for a final push to try and force an equalizer.
Thank you to the 187 member of the Yellow Army that supported the team on the night.