A second-half comeback at Meadowpark saw Eastleigh beat Dorking Wanderers 3-1 to advance to the first round of the FA Cup.

The introduction of Nigel Atagana, who came into the team in place of JJ McKiernan, was Lee Bradbury’s only change from the side that claimed a late win against Chesterfield last weekend.

Neither side was able to take charge of the opening portion of the game as both sides saw attacks fizzle out before they could be turned into tangible chances.

When Eastleigh did get into dangerous positions it was often Jake Hesketh who found himself in positions to try his luck distance. The midfielder twice produced speculative efforts which were unable to find the target.

After a largely quiet first 45 minutes in Surrey, the hosts took the lead in first-half injury time. Bobby-Joe Taylor’s free-kick delivery found Daniel Gallagher who headed the ball past Joe McDonnell.

Although Dorking came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second half it was the visitors who next found the net.

Hesketh was involved once again as his effort from the edge of the area deflected straight into the path of Tristan Abrahams.

The Spitfires forward was in the right position to pounce on the fortunate opportunity by turning quickly and firing low past Slavomir Huk.

The goal looked to inspire new confidence into Eastleigh, but just as they started to build momentum Jimmy Muitt forced a fine save from McDonnell who had to leap across his goal to prevent the ball from flying into the top corner.

Moments later, the Spitfires broke upfield and took the lead for the first time in the game.

Ryan Hill charged at the Dorking defence before playing the ball to Michael Kelly who was in support down the left. The Scottish full-back crossed the ball back to Hill who only had to apply the deafest touch to head the ball over the line from close range.

After going down in the build-up to the Spitfires’ second goal Hesketh was forced off through injury on 72 minutes and was replaced by Danny Whitehall.

No sooner than Whitehall had taken to the field he extended Eastleigh’s lead. Abrahams rounded the goalkeeper, Huk and squared the ball across goal where the substitute Whitehall was on hand to apply the finishing touch.

Eastleigh’s increased confidence was exemplified by Oscar Rutherford. The youngster burst past three Dorking defenders to create enough space for a shot but was only able to roll the ball into the hands of Huk.

Bradbury’s side continued to create chances and were denied a fantastic team goal when Abrahams effort rebounded off the woodwork.

Deep into the six minutes of injury time at the end of the second half, Oussenyou Cisse found himself in an unfamiliarly attacking position. With nobody in support, he fired an effort from the edge of the box which flew over the crossbar.

Report by George Rees-Julian

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Camp, Martin (C), Langston, Kelly, Atangana, Cisse, Carter, Hesketh, Hill, Abrahams

Subs: Flitney, Tshaka, Rutherford, Yang, McKiernan, Ebanks, Whitehall