Eastleigh returned to winning ways in the Vanarama National League with a hard-fought 1-0 win over high-flying Woking.

Vincent Harper’s goal in the 52nd minute was enough to seal all three points for the Spitfires in a close encounter.

Harper raced through on goal to coolly slot in the winner after being played in by debutant Kairo Mitchell, as Eastleigh caught Woking on the break.

The visitors had the first meaningful effort of the game, when Jermaine Anderson saw his deflected effort creep narrowly wide in the 13th minute.

In the 26th minute, some neat footwork from Charlie Carter almost put him through on goal, before a scramble in the box for the ball saw goalkeeper Craig Ross claim it to halt the attack.

With five minutes left in the first half, Christian Maghoma saw his header go wide of the mark, as the Spitfires nearly broke the deadlock.

The Cardinals started the second half brightly, as Rhys Browne poked an effort wide following some nice build-up play by Joshua Casey.

Mitchell’s wonderful ball then sent Harper through on goal for what proved to be the match-winner, as Woking were caught out on the counter-attack.

Just past the hour mark, Danny Whitehall’s fizzing volley almost doubled the advantage as Eastleigh looked to strengthen their lead.

Just moments later, a long ball upfield found Mitchell and with Ross stranded off his line, Mitchell tried looping the ball over the keeper’s head from the edge of the box, with his effort going just off target.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Woking came desperately close to levelling the game, when substitute Marcus Dackers header cannoned off the post after a fine cross from Kyran Lofthouse.

Padraig Amond then burst through the Spitfires defence and looked to be in on goal, before Oscar Rutherford’s fine recovery challenge prevented the visitors from scoring.

Dackers was then denied deep into stoppage time, as Joe McDonnell tipped his headed effort over the bar to secure the three points for the hosts.

Report by Tom Humphrey

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Maghoma, Carter, Cisse (c), Whitehall (79), McKiernan, Harper, Mitchell, Panter, Rutherford, Lloyd

Subs: Martin, Hesketh (79), Langston, Flitney, Payne

Woking: Ross, Casey (c), McNerney, Wilkinson, Amond, Moss, Browne (69), Kellerman, Hessenthaler (63), Anderson (69), Ince

Subs: Lofthouse (63), Cuthbert, Daly (69), O’Connell, Dackers (69)

Attendance: 2528