Eastleigh came away from their penultimate pre-season game with a draw, after a breathless encounter against local neighbours, Southampton B, at the Silverlake Stadium.

Brennan Camp had the opening chance of the game for the Spitfires, rising highest to meet a Ryan Hill corner but directing his header just over the crossbar.

In the tenth minute, Southampton hit back with an early involvement from the lively Diamond Edwards, who flashed a low ball across the penalty area which only needed a touch to convert.

The tricky midfielder was involved again a minute later, with a much greater impact.

Some neat combination play on the edge of the penalty area allowed Edwards to race through and arrow a low shot into the far corner to give the young Saints the lead.

Vincent Harper was proving a threat up and down the left for Eastleigh, and had the beating of his man for much of the game. In the 16th minute, he drove forwards and forced a corner with a floating cross that seemed to be dipping straight in.

As the half hour mark approached, a handful of opportunities for both sides came.

Joe McDonnell was first called into action to deny a James Ward-Prowse-esque free-kick from Kamari Doyle, with the Spitfires’ number one pushing the ball onto the crossbar.

The hosts hit back instantly, as Ryan Hill had a set piece of his own that grazed the crossbar from the top right of the box.

Minutes later, Hill hit a deeper free-kick that almost floated straight in but was tipped out for a corner.

McDonnell was then called back into action with another excellent save to push a point blank header onto the underside of the bar before the ball was hooked away.

The relentless pressure from both sides saw another goal before the interval, with the visitors extending their lead as Luke Pearce, after a good save from McDonnell, volleyed in the second on the rebound.

After an entertaining first half, the pre-season fixture only increased in drama in the second period.

Lee Bradbury’s side raced out the blocks and dominated the chances for the first ten minutes of the half.

Charlie Carter fired into the side netting from a corner, which was won from two deflected opportunities for Brennan Camp.

Tristan Abrahams then struck the post, which Harper followed in to force a corner, leading to a George Langston header into the visiting ‘keeper’s arms.

After a spell of relative calm, the referee brandished a red card to send the Spitfires down to ten men, with Ryan Hill bringing down a Saints attacker on the edge of the area to prevent a one-on-one opportunity.

From the resulting free-kick, McDonnell produced another smart stop down to his right hand side, before Edwards struck the post for the visitors in the next attack.

Langston was on hand soon after with a heroic block on the line to prevent a third for Southampton B, before Eastleigh finally had a reward for their pressure.

Trialist B, on as a half time substitute, jinked past two played and was fouled in the area to win a penalty, which Abrahams stepped up to calmly place down the middle.

Five minutes later, a worrying fall for Brennan Camp saw a lengthy delay and a stretcher brought onto the field. However, the full back thankfully walked off to be replaced by Tom Bragg with ten minutes remaining.

With play resumed, Eastleigh eventually hauled themselves level after some dramatic penalty area pinball.

A corner eventually dropped into the area and ricocheted in off the chest of youngster, Oscar Rutherford.

Despite the equaliser initially being awarded to Langston in the confusion, it was the Elite Development Squad player got the vital touch to level things up.

Despite some late Saints pressure, the scores ended level after a pulsating pre-season encounter at the Silverlake Stadium.

Starting XI: McDonnell, Camp, Maghoma, Martin, Langston, Harper, Trialist A, Carter, Hill, Abrahams. Subs: Flitney, Bragg, Panter, Rutherford, Tshaka, Yang, Trialist B

557 attendance

Report by Tom Mulholland