Ten-man Eastleigh suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of table-topping Chesterfield on a frustrating afternoon at the Silverlake Stadium.

The game turned in Chesterfield’s favour during the closing stages of the first half, as the hosts were reduced to 10-men shortly after going behind.

James Berry scored the opener in the 39th minute, before Paul McCallum was dismissed for a second booking just before half-time.

The visitors then dominated the second half and scored late goals from Liam Mandeville and Will Grigg to seal their win.

Chris Maguire scored a late penalty to grab a late consolation goal for the hosts.

Eastleigh made a bright start to the game and almost took the lead in the 9th minute, when Ryheem Sheckleford was robbed of possession and Scott Quigley spurned a golden opportunity, thanks to a good save by Harry Tyrer.

A minute later and Enzio Boldewijn sent in a perfect cross, but McCallum’s header was straight at Tyrer.

Berry then fired over from range, as the visitors had their first real effort of the game.

Tyrone Williams volleyed wide for Chesterfield, as they began to come into the game a bit more.

In the 21st minute, Michael Jacobs then poked a shot just wide after a low cross by Sheckleford.

Nigel Atangana tries to win the ball from Chesterfield’s James Berry. Photo by Graham Scambler.

Some fine dribbling from Boldewijn down the right-hand side got the home crowd excited as he beat two defenders before his cross was blocked by Chesterfield captain Jamie Grimes.

Jacobs then blasted a half-chance from the edge of the box well over the bar for the visitors.

McCallum was next to try and break the deadlock, but his toe-poked attempt didn’t trouble Tyrer.

It was Chesterfield who found the breakthrough in the 39th minute, as Grigg played in Berry to split the Eastleigh defence and fired in to give the visitors the lead.

Eastleigh tried to respond straight away, when Maguire curled an effort well wide from the edge of the box.

The hosts were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time after McCallum was sent off for a second bookable offence after a stomp on Tom Naylor.

Chesterfield started the second half on top, and Sheckleford threaded a fine ball through for Naylor, whose shot was palmed wide by Joe McDonnell.

The visitors nearly doubled their advantage in the 54th minute, when Berry curled a shot narrowly wide.

Jake Taylor hit the side-netting just after the hour mark, as Eastleigh tried to find a route back into the game.

Former Spitfire Bailey Clements heads the ball away. Photo by Graham Scambler.

Grimes should have made sure of the three points with just under 15 minutes remaining, as McDonnell struggled to handle his header from a corner, before he then failed to convert on the rebound.

Substitute Armando Dobra then went on a dazzling run before seeing his shot charged down by the Eastleigh defence.

Dobra again proved a handful, as his right-footed strike nearly found the top corner.

Seconds later, the visitors did find their second goal, as Mandeville was played in by Dobra and coolly finished to double the lead.

A minute later, Grigg made it three with a tap-in from close range to ensure the win for Chesterfield.

Malachi Dotse was brought down in the box deep into added time, and Eastleigh were awarded a penalty, which Maguire confidently converted.

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Atangana (62′), Martin (c), Taylor, McCallum, Boldewijn, Langston, Maguire, Longe-King (81′), Quigley, Greenwood (65′)

Subs: Francillette, Reeves (62′), Nwabuokei, Rutherford (65′), Dotse (81′)

Chesterfield: Tyrer, Sheckleford, Williams, Grimes (c), Clements, Oldaker, Naylor, Mandeville, Jacobs (72′), Berry (72′), Grigg (88′)

Subs: King, Palmer, Banks (72′), Dobra (72′), Quigley (88′)

Attendance: 2735 (519 away)

Report by Tom Humphrey