A beleaguered Eastleigh, who battled extremely hard for the full 98 minutes, came up just short on a freezing cold evening in Barrow.
Following a dominant fifteen minutes, Barrow were ahead through a Asa Hall header – but the Spitfires responded towards the end of the first half.
A dramatic second half saw Eastleigh level early on through Chris Zebroski before Barrow stuck twice, first through Donovan Makoma and then Lewis Walters.
As the fourth official signalled eight additional minutes, Ben Williamson gave the Spitfires a fighting chance, but it wasn’t to be.
The home side started the brighter of the two, the ball going wide of Graham Stack’s goal on two occasions within the opening five minutes.
Eastleigh continued to struggle – and Barrow’s attacking threat was rewarded when they broke the deadlock inside the first 15 minutes.
Lewis Walters whipped in a corner, which beat the entire Eastleigh defence and found an unmarked Asa Hall, who powered home his header from 8 yards out.
The Spitfires responded with the attacking fluidity that Spitfire supporters have become used to over past three weeks – they were rewarded with four consecutive corners, but they were unable to get the equaliser.
Eastleigh continued to struggled to get a hold on the game as the first half came to a close, a large amount of Barrow’s success coming through their nippy striker, Luke James.
Eastleigh started the second half in the same manner that Barrow started the first – Sam Matthews used all his trickery to get a cross in from the right, but Paul McCallum was unable direct his flick towards goal.
Shortly after, the game came to a halt when Graham Stack and Bedsente Gomis clashed in the Eastleigh box – the later of the two forced off due to the injury that he sustained.
Eastleigh’s fast start and constant pressure was then rewarded – Chris Zebroski found himself one-on-one with Steve Arnold, he rounded the Barrow goalkeeper and slotted home to level the game.
The next phase of play then saw Barrow reclaim the lead and Eastleigh lose two of their most experienced players – Donovan Makoma fired home a rebound from outside the box, before both Stack and captain Ryan Cresswell were forced off due to injuries sustained during the build up for the goal.
Eastleigh then threw caution to the wind – Ben Williamson joined McCallum and Zebroski up top but despite their best efforts they were unable to break down Barrow’s defence.
With the Spitfires pushing for the equaliser, Barrow found a gap in the Eastleigh defence – Nathan Waterston’s initial shot hit the post, but Lewis Walters was on hand to smash home the rebound.
A makeshift Eastleigh continued to battle as the game ebbed towards the closing stages and in the 89th minute Eastleigh found a way back into the game.
Mark Yeates managed to slip the ball through the smallest of gaps, and it found Williamson, the substitute calmy slotting the ball past Arnold from seven yards out.
Eastleigh gave it everything and in the final phase of play Yeates, McCallum and Flitney all hit the woodwork from a Matthews corner, but somehow Barrow kept the ball out of the net.