A late goal snatched the win for Eastleigh against Boreham Wood in a scrappy match at The Silverlake Stadium on Tuesday night.
The game looked to be heading for a draw when Mark Yeates curled in a 79th minute winner for the Spitfires.
Connor Smith, Gozie Ugwu and Manny Parry all came into the starting eleven, with Femi Ilesanmi, Justin Shaibu and the suspended Tom Champion dropping out.
There was an early chance for Luke Garrard’s side when Mark Ricketts found Ricky Shakes with an excellent ball towards the right-wing, but Shakes’ low cross was thumped clear by Reda Johnson.
The hosts first sight of goal came through defender Alex Wynter, who wriggled free of his markers in the box and glanced a header at Ryan Huddart, but it was deflected wide.
This was followed up by a speculative volley from Jack Payne, who had taken the ball down on his chest and fired it wide.
A reaction ensued for the Wood, with Smith leading the charge. The midfielder hooked the ball over the home defence, but Max Stryjek beat the on-running Joshua Umerah to it.
Shortly after, fancy footwork from former Yeovil Town midfielder Smith took him around his marker inside of the box, but he lashed his shot wide of the far post.
Chris Zebroski countered for Eastleigh but ran into trouble, before winning a free-kick. Yeates took the set-piece, but was unable to find a teammate in the box.
Smith was impressing from the centre of midfield in the first half and nicked the ball from the feet of Johnson as the defender battled for possession with Ugwu. Smith carried the ball forward, but blasted his shot into the path of a defender, which parried wide.
Looking to take a foothold in the game, Murtagh collected the ball down the right flank from Shakes and whipped it towards the on-rushing head of Umerah, but Stryjek punched it clear.
Yeates was pulling the strings for Eastleigh and he danced around Parry on the turn, before feeding Zebroski, but his cross was snuffed out by Smith.
Yeates then went for the spectacular; he took the ball down with one foot over his shoulder and volleyed it sweetly at Huddart with his other, but it was narrowly wide.
Ricketts reacted with an ambitious effort of his own. The skipper sent a vicious volley towards the top corner right from 20-yards out, but Stryjek tipped it around the post with an acrobatic fingertip save.
It was a similar story in the second half, with plenty of attacking endeavour, but precious little cutting edge, thanks to two stern defences.
David Stephens was unable to fully clear an Eastleigh cross and Zebroski attempted an overhead kick from close range, but Huddart was down to save.
The game continued in end-to-end fashion as Sorba Thomas dragged an effort wide for Wood and Andrew Boyce headed over for Eastleigh shortly after.
Ugwu had an opportunity to sneak in an opener with 15 minutes to go when Stryjek dropped Shakes’ low cross, but the Eastleigh defence reacted quickly and cleared their lines before the forward could pounce.
Huddart then produced an excellent save to deny Yeates from the edge of the area.
The game looked almost certain to be heading for a draw when Fyfield made what appeared to be a match-saving block on the line. Zebroski’s initial effort had struck the post and rolled across the goalmouth; Hare snapped up the rebound and Fyfield slid in to make a vital interception, with the open goal gaping.
However, the home side would find a way through just two minutes later. Yeates picked up the ball on the left and cut onto his right foot, before curling the ball into the far corner.
The Wood had ten minutes to search for an equaliser, but Eastleigh sat back and soaked up the pressure, to ensure that they left with all three points.
The Wood: Huddart, Woodards (Thomas 50’), Ricketts © (Ilesanmi 45’), Parry, Stephens, Shakes, Umerah, Murtagh, Fyfield, Ugwu, Smith
Subs not used: Balcombe, Shaibu, Gibbs
Eastleigh: Stryjek, Hare, Green, Gobern (Constable 67’), Johnson ©, Yeates (Dennett 88’), Zebroski, Wynter, Miley, Jones (Boyce 13’), Payne
Subs not used: Flitney, Hollands
Goals: Yeates 79’