Eastleigh secured a 1-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge thanks to an early first-half penalty goal from Danny Whitehall at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.

Kairo Mitchell had a chance to double the Spitfires lead from the spot in the first half but was denied, before the hosts fought back in the second half.

But the Spitfires’ defence stayed strong to secure a second win on the road in 2023.

Dagenham & Redbridge got the action underway, but it was the Spitfires who struck first blood in East London.

A clearance from Charlie Carter released Danny Whitehall in behind, the forward quickly crossed the ball to Kairo Mitchell who was fouled before he could get his shot off in the box.

Whitehall stepped forward to convert from the spot, his penalty clipping the crossbar as it nestled into the middle of the net.

Soon after the goal, there was a four-minute delay to play as the officials resolved an issue with their communication devices.

A long ball from Elliot Justam bounced awkwardly as Vincent Harper tried to clear allowing Mo Sagaf a shot on goal, which looked to deflect off a Spitfires defender but the referee awarded a goal-kick.

Danny Whitehall converts from the spot. Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Moments later the hosts came even closer to equalising, Sam Ling squared for Inih Effiong who had only Maghoma to beat, but he placed his effort the wrong side of the post.

With seven minutes remaining of the first half, the Spitfires were awarded a second penalty when Jake Hesketh’s delivery bounced up and struck the hand of Emmanuel Onarise.

This time it was Kairo Mitchell’s turn to test himself from 12 yards and he was denied by Justham who got down quickly to his left to turn the ball away.

A long-range free-kick from Omar Mussa required the fingertips of Joe McDonnell to prevent it from dipping into the net.

The hosts started the second half strongly and on 54 minutes Junior Morais cut inside and flashed an effort just wide from the edge of the box.

The warning shots continued as Effiong had a series of close-range efforts blocked and Dean Rance blazed over the bar in quick succession.

Eastleigh survived the continued Dagenham pressure and began to create chances of their own as the half progressed.

Hesketh broke into the box and delayed, creating him enough time and space to get a shot off which was matched by Justham.

Jake Hesketh comes close to doubling the lead. Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Moments later the ball fell to Effiong in the box, with Harper hot on his heels the Daggers forward fell to the ground and the referee waved away the host’s penalty appeals.

With the hosts back in control Lee Bradbury mad a defesive change, brining off the goalscorer Whitehall for the defensively minded Nigel Atangana.

A second defensive change was made as the clock ticked past 90 minutes with Lewis Payne coming on in place of Hesketh.

Match report – George Rees-Julian

Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Johnson, Rance, Onariase, Mussa (69′), Effiong, Sagaf (46′), Robinson (c), Phipps, Ling (84′), Morais Subs: Balanta (69′), Weston (46′), Longe-King, Bird (84′), Ibie

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Maghoma, Carter, Cisse (c), Whitehall (79′), Hesketh (90′), McKiernan, Harper, Mitchell Panter, Rutherford. Subs: Flitney, Atangana (79′), Langston, Payne (90′), Simpson

Goals: Danny Whitehall 6′

Attendance: 1,018 (23)