The Spitfires fell to a narrow defeat to Southend United on a disappointing afternoon at the Silverlake Stadium.

The only goal of the game came in the 53rd minute when Jack Bridge coolly converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Henry Sandat in the box.

The visitors started brightly and could have had the lead in the opening minutes of the game.

In the second minute, Noor Husin tested Joe McDonnell with a shot from range, but the Eastleigh keeper got down well to tip the ball wide.

Five minutes later, Bridge’s cross found Marcus Dackers in the box, but he couldn’t direct his header goalwards.

After a quiet 10 minutes, the game suddenly burst into life with a flurry of chances, where both teams could have taken the lead.

Dackers should have put Southend ahead when he was gifted possession with only McDonnell to beat, but he somehow dragged his shot wide of the mark.

The hosts then had their first chance of the game, as Paul McCallum’s acrobatic attempt went wide.

Scott Quigley battles for possession with Ollie Kensdale. Photo by Graham Scambler.

Wesley Fonguck then went close for the visitors, as his shot from the edge of the six-yard box went narrowly off target.

A minute later, McDonnell pulled off a superb double save to prevent Sandat from scoring, first with his head and then on the rebound.

With just under 10 minutes left in the half, Southend’s players and fans appealed for a red card after a crunching challenge by Scott Quigley on Cav Miley, but Quigley was booked by referee James Westgate.

That was the last incident of note in the first half, as the half ended goalless.

Enzio Boldewijn on the ball. Photo by Graham Scambler.

Four minutes into the second half, Chris Maguire’s deflected shot looped towards McCallum, who also saw his shot blocked.

In the 51st minute, Southend were awarded a penalty after Sandat was pulled down as he attempted a shot from close range.

Bridge slotted the ball straight down the middle to give the visitors the lead shortly into the second half.

The Shrimpers almost doubled their advantage when Husin’s teasing ball went across the face of goal, but Dackers couldn’t get on the end of the loose ball.

Maguire then went into the book for bringing down Bridge when Southend were on the attack.

With 15 minutes to play, the visitors almost made it 2-0 when Ollie Kensdale’s header rattled the crossbar from close range.

With 10 minutes remaining, Nigel Atangana blasted a volley well over the bar, as the hosts looked for a way back into the game.

It wasn’t to be for the Spitfires, as both sides struggled to create any real chances in the closing stages of the game.

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Francillette, McCallum, Boldewijn (c), Hodson, Croll, Nwabuokei, Maguire (85′), Clements, Panter (71′), Quigley (46′)

Subs: Clampin (85′), Atangana (46′), Martin, Taylor, Barlow (71′)

Southend United: Andeng-Ndi, Scott-Morriss, Ralph (c), Kensdale, Bridge (87′), Husin, Dackers, Taylor, Miley, Fonguck (77′), Sandat (77′)

Subs: Crowther, Wood (77′), Kabongolo, Morton (77′), Demetriou (87′)

Attendance: 2824 (788 away)

Report by Tom Humphrey