Eastleigh fell to their first defeat of pre-season in a tough evening’s work against Sky Bet League One side, Oxford United.

It was a steady opening at the Silverlake Stadium as both sides looked to work out the other on a balmy evening in Hampshire.

The Spitfires forced the first opportunity after five minutes, with Vincent Harper coming close. The full-back won a 50/50 battle against Anthony Forde and found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper, but he could only shoot wide of the post.

However, it was the League One side that took the lead in the 16th minute. Marcus Browne opened the scoring for the visitors, cutting inside and firing a low drive into the bottom corner past the returning Joe McDonnell.

An inventive Tristan Abrahams flick, created by a surging and cross from Ryan Hill, was the best opportunity for an equaliser by the home side.

Yet, in the 22nd minute, The U’s doubled their lead with another goal for Oxford and Browne, who was alive in the area to get to the ball first and tap home.

Just after the half hour mark, Harper won the ball back in a dangerous area again, but the resulting shot from Hill was deflected away for a corner.

Browne almost had a first half hattrick for the visitors as he nudged a shot past McDonnell in the Eastleigh goal, only for the Spitfires ‘keeper to race back and push the ball away off the line.

Aaron Martin came close on his return to the Silverlake Stadium, as he beat the offside trap from a free-kick but just glanced a header wide.

The second half began with three Eastleigh changes, as Danny Whitehall, Jake Hesketh, and George Langston were introduced.

It took just seven minutes for Whitehall to make his mark, scoring for the third successive friendly. Hesketh was involved in the build-up as well, playing in the ever-dangerous Harper down the left wing with time to pick out a perfect cross for Eastleigh’s number nine to head home.

Unfortunately, Oxford added a third just five minutes later as Steve Seddon converted from inside the area.

The visitors then added a fourth from the penalty spot, as former-Liverpool youth product Cameron Brannagan converted from 12 yards.

The deficit increased as substitute Jodi Jones got in on the act for Oxford, firing home an impressive strike.

In the end, it finished in defeat for the Spitfires against a strong League One outfit at the Silverlake.