Eastleigh struggled to kick into gear as they fell 2-5 to the in-form Gateshead who produced a masterclass in finishing at the Silverlake Stadium.

In a fairly even contest, it was the Tynesiders who were clinical in front of goal as a brace from Aaron Martin and further goals from Adam Campbell, Greg Olley and Owen Bailey, helped Gateshead record their sixth consecutive league victory.

The hammering rain stopped just in time for kick off where the first shot of the game led to the opener as Aaron Martin found space on the edge of the box , turning into the box and releasing a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

The floodgates were not only opened on the pitch but from the skies too as the rain poured once more.

From the second shot in the game came the second goal, as Eastleigh drew level just four minutes later. Carter capitalised on a loose headed back pass, to steal in down the left. The winger still had a lot to do and from a tight angle arrowed the ball across goal through the despairing hand of goalkeeper Marschall to level the scores.

Charlie Carter celebrates bringing Eastleigh level. © Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Seven minutes later, Eastleigh almost took the lead as Ryan Hill’s mistimed shot from the penalty spot fell perfectly in the path of Mitchell but his looping effort did not reach the goal as Marschall came out to close the attacker, leading to penalty claims from the home fans, which we turned away by referee James Durkin.

In a back and forth match, it was then the turn of Gateshead’s Daniel Ward to try his luck from 25-yards out which arrowed narrowly over the bar with McDonnell scrambling.

As the rain came down even heavier, it was the Tynesiders who capitalised as a slippery ball ricocheted around the box and Adam Campbell’s effort from inside the area took a deflection to divert into the bottom right corner and regive Gateshead the lead.

The Spitfires almost had an instant equaliser again as Brennan Camp tried his luck from 30-yards out and forced Marschall to save just past the onrushing Mitchell.

It was then the strikers turn to go close after Oscar Rutherford drove from his own half before releasing Mitchell in behind, however despite having two bites at the cherry he could not turn home due to a brilliant save from Marschall.

After the break, Danny Whitehall almost made an instant impact off the bench shooting from six-yards out with the angle narrowing but a brilliant last ditch tackle denied the equaliser.

However, it was Gateshead that would extend their lead just five minutes into the second as Martin again found space on the edge of the box this time fron an angle, but with the same end result as he fired low into the bottom left corner.

Another substitution from the Spitfires was at the heart of another chance for the hosts as Vincent Harper set up Carter who curled agonisingly wide from 18-yards out.

Instead on the counter the Tynesiders would pounce again.

A driving run from Martin drew the attention of all the Spitfires defenders leaving captain Greg Olley in acres of space inside the box. Olley took a touch to set himself before powering the ball into the top left corner from 10-yards out.

Eastleigh did not let their heads drop and kept trying to find a way back into the game as Harper’s ball into the box fell to Mitchell six-yards from goal but again a brilliant block from a Gateshead defender stopped the effort nestling in the back of the net.

Vincent Harper looking to find a spark for the Spitfires. © Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Gateshead looked a constant threat on the break and Stephen Wearne drove inside the box looking to add gloss to the scoreline but a magnificent save from McDonnell’s feet denied the substitute.

The Tynesiders rounded off a five-star performance when Owen Bailey powered home Olley’s corner putting the Gateshead fans behind the goal into dreamland.

Despite the scoreline, the Spitfires continued to battle and got a goal back just two minutes later as Mitchell turned the ball into the net from a low cross.


Eastleigh: McDonnell, Camp, Kelly, Atangana, Martin (C), Maghoma, Carter, Hill, McKiernan, Mitchell, Rutherford.

Substitutes: Cisse, Whitehall, Langston, Harper, McDonagh

Goals: Carter (11′), Mitchell (84′)

Gateshead: Marschall, Tinkler, Bailey, Olley (C), Campbell, Ward, Martin, Pani, Magnay, Whelan, Conteh

Substitutes: Storey, Dinanga, Francis, Montgomery, Wearne.

Goals: Martin (7′, 50′), Campbell (26′), Olley (64′), Bailey (82′)