Eastleigh suffered their first defeat in three matches at the hands of top of the table Dover.
A goal in each half meant the home side came out 2-0 victors on a bitterly cold afternoon on the Kent South Coast.
Dover’s goals came through James Alabi and Connor Essam, but this was not before Eastleigh were denied what appeared to be a stone-wall penalty in the opening 20-minutes.
Before the game got underway players and fans alike observed a minute’s silence in recognition of Armistice Day.
The opening ten minutes were quickly wiped from the memory. It lacked goalmouth action, with both sides having an even share of the possession.
Just before the 20 minutes mark the game sparked into life, a lovely interchange between Gavin Hoyte and James Constable causing panic in the Dover defence. Hoyte’s cross appeared to be blocked by a Dover hand, but the referee was unmoved.
Both teams continued to push but just before the half-hour mark, Dover took the lead. Josh Passley’s long throw-in lead to a game of head tennis in the Spitfires box, before Alabi header looped the ball over Ross Flitney.
The home side then nearly doubled their lead shortly after – neat work between Femi Ilesanmi, Mitch Pinnock and Nortei Nortey created an opportunity for Mitch Brundle, but he dragged his shot wide.
The Spitfires were on the back foot after the break – Dover would dominate possession for the majority of the second-half.
Their dominance came to prominence in the 57th minute, with former Spitfire Essam coming back to haunt. Flitney made a superlative save from Essam’s header, but the centre-back was there to hammer home the rebound.
Eastleigh responded in style – the substitutions of Sam Matthews, Craig McAllister, and Ben Strevens helping the Spitfires mount pressure on the Dover goal.
Despite a push in the closing stages, Dover’s defence stood strong and Eastleigh came away with nothing. The Spitfires are next in action next Saturday, when Barrow visit the Silverlake.