EASTLEIGH'S Skrill Conference South title hopes suffered a jolt tonight when they slithered to a 3-2 defeat at Weston-super-Mare.
It ended a glorious run of seven straight league and cup victories for Richard Hill’s men and was their first loss in 19 encounters with the Seagulls, writes James Wright.
The Spitfires remain 11 points adrift of league leaders Bromley but have blown one of their four games in hand.
The early chances fell to Eastleigh on a heavy surface battered by often torrential rain.
After four minutes Ben Strevens had a powerful drive well saved by Weston goalkeeper Lloyd Irish and then an 11th-minute counter- attack ended with skipper Glen Southam firing over.
Weston’s first threat came when Tristan Plummer went on a mazy run through the heart of the visitors’ defence but shot straight at ’keeper Ross Flitney.
The Seagulls took the lead just after the half-hour when full-back Martin Slocombe prised the Eastleigh defence open with a fine run and slipped the ball to big centre forward Chaz Hemmings who drilled an unstoppable shot into the far corner.
Tricky midfielder Dayle Grubb almost doubled the advantage from an outrageous angle a minute later.
The Hampshire visitors made a livelier start to the second half. Jai Reason saw a curling shot deflected just over and Chris Todd blasted a low effort narrowly wide from 20 yards.
The Spitfires kept going with Reece Connolly shooting wide at the end of a fast counter-attack before the equaliser finally arrived 16 minutes from time.
Reason’s powerful volley was deflected behind and the resultant flag kick was beaten out to Craig McAllister who picked out the top corner with a delightful shot.
But Weston took just 30 seconds to restore their lead with Grubb’s angled shot from the left skidding under Flitney.
Substitute Alec Fiddes wrapped up the points with a gloriously caressed left-foot curler after being teed up by Hemmings.
Four minutes into injury time sub Yemi Odubade slipped home Eastleigh’s second, but it was too little too late for the visitors.
Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Dan Spence, Will Evans (Michael Green, 45), Jamie Collins, Dean Beckwith, Chris Todd, Reece Connolly (Damian Batt, 59), Glen Southam, Craig McAllister, Jai Reason (Yemi Odubade, 81), Ben Strevens. Unused subs: Jack Dovey