SKRILL Conference South leaders Eastleigh drew on their reserves of energy to fight back from 2-0 down for a 2-2 draw at Bishop’s Stortford tonight.
With little more than 48 hours’ recovery time from Sunday’s 1-1 result at Hayes & Yeading, the Spitfires conceded after just four minutes as Reece Prestedge headed home a cross by Stortford’s on-loan Norwich City striker Rod Young.
Eastleigh broke immediately with Ben Wright forcing a flying save from his namesake Joe, but dangerman Young duly doubled Bishops’ advantage in the 23rd minute with an exquisite lob.
At that stage it looked as if Stortford were on course for their first win in seven on home territory.
Eastleigh, though, had other ideas.
With 37 minutes gone, on-loan Salisbury striker Wright stepped up to curl a free-kick into the ’keeper’s top left-hand corner to make it 2-1 at half-time. Bishops’ big defender Sean Francis posed the main threat at the start of the second half, rolling one shot well wide and having a couple of headers scrambled to safety.
But cometh the hour, cometh the man for Eastleigh as Ben Strevens, one of the stand-out performers of a superb season, levelled matters with a header from a corner.
The Spitfires almost took the lead when loan signing Daniel Wishart jinked his way through and fired inches over.
The final chance fell to Stortford with Francis flashing a header just past the post.
It was Eastleigh’s third successive draw on the road, leaving them three points ahead of former leaders Bromley with just one game in hand.
Third-placed Sutton – 1-0 conquerors of Boreham Wood last night – are five points behind the Spitfires having played one game more.
Eastleigh host Whitehawk on Saturday before travelling to Bromley for a ‘six pointer’ next Tuesday (April 8). l Gosport Borough’s all-time leading scorer Justin Bennett banked another crucial three points in the fight against relegation.
Bennett took advantage of a goalkeeping howler to seal a 1-0 home win over Farnborough which lifts Borough to 16th.