The Spitfires suffered defeat at the hands of Rochdale following a frustrating performance at the Silverlake Stadium.

Having been without a game for two weeks due to two postponements, the Spitfires were hoping to return to action with a win against a Rochdale side who came into this clash off the back of a win against Woking on Tuesday night.

However, the visitors had other plans as goals from Mitchell, Keohane, and Rodney were enough to cancel out McCallum’s first-half headed finish.

The Dale enjoyed the majority of possession during the opening ten minutes but couldn’t create anything meaningful with it despite their best efforts.

Four minutes later, however, and the visitors came close when Devante Rodney got on the end of a Cian Hayes cross before turning his deft effort wide.

Rodney tried again in the 20th minute when he released a powerful shot. His attempt flew comfortably over the bar.

The Spitfires seemed as though they were beginning to get a foothold on the game but their efforts were nullified in the 28th minute.

Kairo Mitchell caught George Langston in possession of the ball before capitalising on the error via a slotted finish beyond Joe McDonnell.

George Langston with possession of the ball as Devante Rodney applies pressure. © Image by Graham Scambler Photography

The goal seemed to put fire in the belly of the hosts who responded in perfect fashion just three minutes after conceding.

Scott Quigley delivered a delightful cross into the path of the oncoming McCallum who, as he does so well, found the back of the net to restore parity.

Paul McCallum celebrates scoring an equaliser. © Image by Graham Scambler Photography

Five minutes from the break, Eastleigh threatened to take the lead after a corner was headed out to Nigel Atangana whose volley was deflected wide.

The goal wouldn’t have stood had he converted as the referee, Paul Johnson, spotted a foul in the build up.

Two McDonnell saves in two minutes prevented Rochdale from retaking the lead.

Ryan East was the first to be denied before a near-post shot from Rodney was gathered by the shot-stopper.

Despite the hosts’ best efforts to keep The Dale at bay, in the 44th minute, the Eastleigh backline was breached when a driven ball across goal was met by Jimmy Keohane who tapped in Rochdale’s second of the afternoon.

The Spitfires’ search for another leveller was interrupted by the half-time whistle as both teams made their way down the tunnel with team talks surely changing late on.

It was almost the perfect start to the second half for the hosts who came out the better side to begin with.

A long throw from McCallum was flicked on by Ludwig Francillette and from point blank range at the back post, Quigley’s effort was cleared off the line despite most of the stadium thinking he’d found the goal to level things up.

A devious effort from Rodney made sure that McDonnell was alert when his powerful drive was gathered by the shot-stopper at the second time of asking.

Nigel Atangana has possession of the ball. © Image by Graham Scambler Photography

With just under 20 minutes to play, Hayes went on a marauding run as he got the better of the Eastleigh defence before cutting the ball back to Rodney.

The Dale striker kept his composure before fooling the Spitfires defender and firing a shot off the underside of the crossbar and in.

Eastleigh were denied a penalty despite their strong appeals after Francillette was pulled down in the box.

Regardless of the decision, Tiernan Brooks was forced into a good, diving save as Maguire attempted an impressive overhead kick.

Despite having one goal to his name, Mitchell was hungry for more and added a second to his tally.

He ran into the box and deployed a shot that despite McDonnell getting a hand to, dropped under the crossbar to add Rochdale’s fourth of the game.

The final fifteen minutes were relatively quiet with Rochdale seemingly taking their foot off the pedal.

The afternoon ended in defeat for Eastleigh who look to pick up some much needed points on their travels to Barnet on Tuesday night.

Eastleigh: McDonnell (GK), Atangana, Francillette, Taylor (C), McCallum, Boldewijn, Langston (Rutherford 46′), Hodson, Croll, Nwabuokei (Reeves 67′), Quigley (Maguire 67′).

Unused Subs: Martin, Barlow.

Goals: McCallum (31′)

Yellow cards: Nwabuokei (56′)

Rochdale: Brooks (GK), Gordon, John (Uchegbulam 90′), East, Ebanks-Landell (C), Mitchell, Rodney (Armstrong 77′), Keohane, Nevett (Sassi 87′), Hayes, Gilmour.

Unused Subs: Taylor, Clayton.

Goals: Mitchell (28′, 79′), Keohane (44′), Rodney (71′)

Referee: Paul Johnson

Attendance: 2,257 (165 away)

Report by Ricky Hart