The Spitfires fell to a 2-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Torquay United, who recorded their third consecutive victory to edge closer to safety.

Second-half goals from captain Asa Hall and Tom Lapslie were enough to separate the two sides in a very scrappy encounter.

The hosts started the game the brighter buoyed by two consecutive victories and the home crowd, however, failed to create many clear chances in the opening 15 minutes.

Brennan Camp was on the receiving end of two big tackles that saw the game become more feisty, however, it was the Spitfires defender that prevented his side from falling behind 20 minutes in, getting back in front of his goal to block Aaron Jarvis’ effort from the edge of the box, following a corner.

On the half-hour mark, it was the turn of Christian Maghoma to make a crucial block to intercept a dangerous-looking cross from Frank Nouble and deny a tap-in for Jarvis in the six-yard box.

That chance woke the Spitfires up and a lovely short corner routine between Ryan Hill and Michael Kelly meant that Ousseynou Cisse was able to head back across goal with Whitehall waiting but his scuffed effort allowed Halstead time to recover and save.

Whitehall then went close again, albeit from a more difficult chance, heading back across goal from ten-yards out but Halstead was once again equal to the effort.

Ousseynou Cisse challenges for the ball in a very physical encounter. © Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Following the break, a similar pattern ensued with the Gulls starting the livelier, and this time they took advantage just six minutes into the second half.

Jack Stobbs whipped in a delightful cross from a free-kick and Asa Hall did equally as well to power his header past Joe McDonnell at the near post.

Torquay United then went into game management mode, slowing down the play at every opportunity.

Lee Bradbury reacted by making two substitutions to change the flow of the game, bringing on the returning Alfie Lloyd and Oscar Rutherford on the hour mark.

However it was the Gulls that scored once again just five minutes later, play seemed to stop as Jarvis and Aaron Martin tussled on the edge of the box and most paused expecting a free-kick either way.

However, one player that did not stop was Tom Lapslie and the midfielder capitalised, to break through one-on-one with Joe McDonnell and coolly roll the ball into the bottom right corner to double the lead.

Four minutes later the Spitfires almost halved the deficit, when Kelly curled agonisingly over from 25 yards out.

Charlie Carter probes as Eastleigh look to get back into the match. © Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Final substitute Gerry McDonagh almost made an instant impact when coming on in the 75th minute.

The forward drove down the right flank and pulled the ball back for Lloyd, who went down under a challenge, but referee Elliott Swallow turned away loud shouts for a penalty.

A minute later it was Kairo Mitchell with a chance as he collected the ball on the penalty spot with his back to goal, swivelled, and fired a shot that was blocked.

Despite the late push and another Mitchell effort which went high and wide, the game management continued as Torquay United managed to close out the match and gain a vital three points towards safety.

Report by Sajidur Rahman

Attendance: 3,237 (184 away)

Torquay United: Halstead, Lapslie, Hall (C), Jarvis, Donnellen, Lawrence, Moxey (80′), Stobbs, Dawson (84′), Collins, Nouble

Subs: Omar (80′), Hanson, Evans (84′), Wyatt, Lovett

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Camp, Kelly, Martin (C), Maghoma, Carter, Cisse (62′), Whitehall (74′), Hill (62′), McKiernan, Mitchell

Subs: Langston, Harper, Rutherford (62′), Lloyd (62′), McDonagh (74′)

Goals: Hall (51′), Lapslie (65′)