Eastleigh made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a dogged display in Devon.
Goals from Sam Matthews and Gavin Hoyte backed up by a Ross Flitney penalty save earned the Spitfires a 2-1 away win over Torquay United.
The Boys in Blue took an early lead through Matthews, who jinked his way through Torquay’s defence and fired in from the edge of the box. A Luke Young strike on the half hour levelled things up before half-time.
Hoyte scored his first goal of the season by coming in at the back post to slot home and Flitney secured the three points with a great penalty save with ten minutes to go.
In a frantic start to the game, the home side could have led inside the first minute – Jake Gosling headed over from six yards after Michee Efete delivered a great ball to the back post.
But Eastleigh were soon on the attack – Chris Zebroski was played in twice in two minutes. The first effort was going wide, and the second was blocked by a sliding tackle.
The Spitfires continued to pressurise the hosts with consecutive corners – Ayo Obileye (the only change to the line-up) went close from the first with his header tipped over the bar.
Minutes later, in a moment of magic from Matthews, Eastleigh led. Matthews picked the ball up 40 yards out before setting off on a mazy run through the Torquay defence to unleash a curling effort at goal, beating Ryan Clarke.
It was so nearly two not long after, Bradley Hudson-Odoi’s trickery got him one-on-one in the box only to have his shot cleared off the line.
Eastleigh’s hopes of a half-time lead were then taken away on 33 minutes when Young slammed the ball home from 20 yards. The strike left Flitney flatfooted with several players in his eye-line.
Danny Hollands was forced off just before half-time with Sam Togwell replacing the injured midfielder.
And all of Andy Hessenthaler’s substitutes were used up by 66 minutes in an attempt to change the momentum of the game – Ben Williamson and James Constable replacing Hudson-Odoi and Mark Yeates.
With few chances in the second half there was a wait till the 70th minute for any real action -but it was worth being patient for.
Zebroski’s cross from the left went through the Torquay box eventually landing at the feet of Hoyte near the back post. Hoyte took a touch to take the ball away from the defender before smashing in at the goalkeepers near post.
With ten minutes to go the home side were awarded a penalty after Mark Wood brought down George Dowling on the edge of the box. Despite Eastleigh protests that it was outside of the penalty area, the referee decided to award the spot-kick.
Up stepped Jamie Reid to take – but up stepped Ross Flitney to rescue the Spitfires. Flitney dived to his left caught the penalty to keep Eastleigh ahead.
Hessenthaler’s men managed to clear a goal-mouth scramble in the closing stages to make it six unbeaten and climb into 14th.