Both keepers saw red in a fiery six goal thriller at the Shay, which was littered with cards, passion and goals.
Eastleigh took a two goal lead in the first half from two corners, the first flying directly in from the boot of Sam Matthews and the second a converted header from Chris Zebroski.
Halifax responded with a penalty near the end of the half after Danny Clarke was brought down – Scott McManus converting the spot kick to make it 2-1 at half time. Simon Heslop restored the two goal lead in the 63rd minute before a chaotic ending to the contest.
Halifax’s goalkeeper, Sam Johnson, was sent off for a second yellow – but despite being down to ten, the home side pulled another back through Tom Denton. Ross Flitney was then shown a second yellow for holding onto the ball after the goal, and Daniel Batty later levelled in the 88th minute after firing past stand-in ‘keeper Andrew Boyce.
In a frantic start to the game, Flitney was forced in to several stunning saves – the pick of which coming from a Jake Hibbs freekick 20 yards out, tipping the effort onto the bar.
Minutes later, and the Spitfires lead in bizarre circumstances. Matthews’ whipped corner completely fooled Halifax ‘keeper Johnson, who almost caught the ball in his own net.
The Halifax player’s complained to the referee and linesman – Johnson was then shown a yellow for his reaction and kicking the ball out of the ground in anger.
It was then heart-in-mouth for Flitney at the other end when he saw yellow for bringing down McManus after he was played in over the top. The home crowd were screaming for red, but referee Karl Evans decided a yellow was enough punishment.
A bitter blow to Eastleigh came in the shape of an injury to star striker Ben Williamson, who was forced off after 20 minutes with Chris Zebroski replacing him.
But out of that negative came the Spitfires’ second goal. Zebroski directed in Boyce’s flicked header for a two-goal lead, with both goals coming from corners.
A mix of Callum Howe and Cavaghn Miley brought down Clarke minutes later, and the referee pointed to the spot. McManus put the penalty high to Flitney’s right to cut the lead to one.
The second half started with just as much energy as the first – a fantastic double save from Johnson kept Matthews’ curling effort out followed by McCallum’s rebound.
The keeper then turned from hero to villain as he came rushing out of his goal and into Matthews to pick up his second yellow card.
Eastleigh then fuelled the anger of the home fans by scoring their third goal five minutes later. Zebroski’s low cross was turned in by Heslop for his first goal in Eastleigh colours.
But the pendulum swung in the home side’s favour on 73 minutes when Denton turned in a cross from McManus to pull back a second. A melee then ensued in the goal mouth with Flitney refusing to give back the ball, with several Halifax players surrounding him.
Flitney was shown a second yellow leaving it ten vs ten for the final 15 minutes and Andrew Boyce taking up the ‘keeper jersey.
Boyce showed his keeping skills with a great stop with his feet from Batty, but was left stranded when Batty chanced his arm from the edge of the box in the 88th minute to draw the home side level.
In a chaotic last couple of minutes, it was Eastleigh who almost nicked it – Mark Yeates dispossessed substitute keeper Nicholoson, but was unable to squeeze the ball in.
The match finished level at 3-3 in a game full of and entertainment and controversy. The Spitfires are next in action away to Sutton United on Saturday December 2nd.