The Spitfires saw out February with no league losses as they beat York City 1-0 at the Silverlake Stadium, continuing their play-off push.

The game got underway, and so did the Spitfires as they looked to attack from the off. They forced a corner in the opening minutes and had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Paul Johnson.

An enticing ball down the left flank gave Alfie Lloyd the chance to cross, but his delivery whiskered over the crossbar for a goal kick.

The visitors saw their first chance of the game as Mazier Kouhyar’s driven low cross was just out of Shaqai Forde’s reach, who darted in but couldn’t reach the ball as it was put out for a throw-in by an outstretched Vincent Harper.

In doing so the Spitfires’ left-back picked up an injury and was forced off on 26 minutes after attempting to carry on.

Michael Kelly was the replacement on his first game back after being injured himself.

Oscar Rutherford attacks for the Spitfires. Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Lee Bradbury’s men looked to cause a threat of their own as they hit on the break, a precise through ball was aimed for Kairo Mitchell, however, the ball was heavy and travelled through to Ryan Whitley in the York net.

The visitors had the first real shot of the evening, with Forde hammering wide from the edge of the box as he continued to look dangerous.

Eastleigh responded immediately with a shot of their own as Danny Whitehall fired from a speculative range, his effort was comfortable for Whitley to gather.

Having already lost Harper just ten minutes prior, JJ McKiernan was then forced to leave the field after 37 minutes and was replaced by Brennan Camp.

Ollie Dyson found what looked to be the best chance of the contest so far as he tricked his way through the Eastleigh defenders to get his shot away. The powerful strike was stopped by Joe McDonnell who dashed across to his near post to palm back into play.

The Spitfires almost responded perfectly as some excellent play down the left-hand side saw Alfie Lloyd find himself in the box before he played the ball back to Mitchell whose close-range effort was blocked on the stroke of half-time, ensuring both sides went in level at the break.

It was goalless at the interval. Image by Graham Scambler Photography

The visitors managed to create the first attack of the half as a dangerous-looking cross from the left was headed behind by Kelly at the near post; Eastleigh easily dealt with the resultant corner.

Aiming for a quick response, Mitchell took on a defender and darted towards goal only to be hacked down on the edge of the box.

Both Whitehall and Kelly stood over the ball and it was the latter who fired with his left foot, exquisitely finding the top corner on his return from injury. His curling free kick beat an outstretched Whitley and gave Eastleigh a crucial lead in the 52nd minute.

Eastleigh players celebrate in front of the home fans. Image by Graham Scambler Photography

York targeted a response and managed to forge a handful of half-chances and corners but nothing that massively troubled the blue backline. The hosts hit back, forcing their own cluster of chances but similarly couldn’t create anything clear-cut.

Eastleigh were out to double their advantage as Whitehall darted down the right and fired a low ball across the 6-yard box that was intercepted by York’s keeper, calling a halt to the attack.

Alfie Lloyd darted into York’s box as he tried to scout out options but a well-timed challenge saw him lose control and play the ball out for a goal kick.

York managed their first real chance of the second half five minutes from time. Substitute Ollie Tanner found himself with the ball on the penalty spot but whisked his effort off target and over the crossbar.

The visitors did push on and force a succession of half chances, but it was proving to be too little too late for the North Yorkshire side.

A second half scarce of chances meant that Eastleigh took all three points on a cold Tuesday evening, in a hard-fought display, bolstering their play-off hopes.

Report by Matthew Benton-Smith

Attendance: 2,199 (177 Away)

Eastleigh: McDonell, Martin (c), Carter, Cissé, Whitehall, Langston, McKiernan (37), Harper (26), Mitchell (75), Rutherford, Lloyd

Subs: Camp (37), Kelly (26) (52′), Atangana (75), Payne, Scrimshaw 

York: Whitley, Fallowfield, Kouogun, Kerr, Dyson, Forde, Kouhyar (74), Whittle, John-Lewis (c), Hancox(80), Pybus

Subs: McLaughlin, James, Campbell, Duckworth, Tanner (74)