Eastleigh slipped to 19th in the National League table after a 2-0 defeat to Sutton at a bitterly cold Gander Green Lane.
Tom Bolarinwa opened the scoring for the hosts from close range in the 13th minute, and substitute Tommy Wright chipped the returning Graham Stack to seal the result in the 82nd.
Mark Yeates shone for The Spitfires, and went close on a few occasions, but it wasn’t enough for Richard Hill’s men to stage a fightback against the side who now sit top of the National League table.
The first chance of the game came from Bolarinwa in the 6th minute. The Sutton winger cut in from the right and unleashed a curling left-footed shot to the far post, but his effort glimpsed the top of the crossbar.
Simon Heslop was next to come close to opening the scoring. Having won the ball in the midfield, he passed to Chris Zebroski, but the return ball to The Spits’ latest signing was overhit and gathered by Sutton goalkeeper Jamie Butler.
Zebroski then teed up Yeates on the right for a first time cross, which the winger executed perfectly to find Paul McCallum at the far post, but his header was miscalculated.
Zebroski was lively in the early stages, and nearly bagged the opener in the 11th minute. He rounded the ‘keeper after collecting Yeates’ lofted through ball, but Simon Downer prevented him from tapping into an empty net.
Bolarinwa then made it 1-0 to Sutton in the 13th minute when stole possession from Callum Howe on the corner of his own penalty area, and tucked the ball under the helpless Graham Stack, who returned in the Eastleigh goal after Ross Flitney’s red card last week meant he was suspended.
Eastleigh almost replied immediately through Andrew Boyce, but his header from Yeates’ corner flew just wide.
Heslop came close once more with a low drive from the edge of the area after clever work from Yeates, but his shot whistled wide of the post.
A mishit clearance from Howe then fell to Kieron Cadogan on the edge of the box, and Stack got down well to push the winger’s drilled effort wide.
Cadogan was then picked out by Bolarinwa, but Stack showed his class once more with an expert save one-on-one. Kenny Davis met the follow up, but it was kept out by a combination of Boyce and Howe putting their bodies on the line.
Zebroski made another opportunity 10 minutes into the second half when he turned sharply and hit a rocket of a shot, but the ball sailed wide.
It was an even game as the second half wore on, and Eastleigh were always in with a chance at 1-0. Yeates weaved his way through on the left-hand side and unleashed a right-footed shot, but the angle was too tight to squeeze the ball in and he could only find the side netting.
Substitute Tommy Wright then doubled the hosts’ lead in the 82nd minute when he latched onto a loose ball and chipped Stack from 20 yards to make it 2-0.
Yeates made sure he continued to be a menace until the final whistle though, and was agonisingly close to netting his fourth of the season. He played a neat one-two with Craig McAllister on the edge of the area before unleashing a rasping shot that stung the palms of Butler, who could only just divert the ball over the bar.
It wasn’t to be for The Spitfires, who are without a win in six, but will look to do something about that streak when Bromley visit The Silverlake on Saturday 9th December.
Written by Ashley Gregory.