Eastleigh have been crowned champions of the Skrill South after beating Basingstoke 2-1 at the Silverlake Stadium this afternoon.
With two games to spare the Spitfires have confirmed that they will play in the fifth tier of English football for the first time in their 68-year history.
They only needed a point from the match against the Dragons but at times it looked as if the visitors might spoil the party and win the match, despite having centre-back Ross Adams in goal for over an hour following an injury to 'keeper Louis Wells.
But just past the hour mark Yemi Odubade’s powerful shot from the edge of the box curled past the outstretched arm of stand-in stopper Adams to ignite the promotion party, before Salisbury loanee Ben Wright, who was on loan at 'Stoke at the beginning of the year, (below) slotted home the second from close range after Dan Spence had squared the ball from the right.
Liam Enver-Marum then scored an injury time goal for 'Stoke.
In front of a bumper crowd of 1505 at the Silverlake Arena those goals, in what was the biggest match in the club’s history, saw Richard Hill's side to their twelfth game unbeaten in a row at home and to a famous championship.
Nine years after they gained promotion from the Ryman Premier League and eleven since they were crowned champions of the Wessex Premier Division Eastleigh have hoisted themselves to just one league off the Football League.
It is a proud day for the club who at one point were more than eleven points off top-spot in the Skrill South, but after not losing since late November were able battle their way to the top.
Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Dan Spence, Michael Green, Ben Strevens, Will Evans, Chris Todd, Jai Reason, Glen Southam (c), Yemi Odubade, Ben Wright (Lee Peacock 89), Daniel Wishart (Craig McAllister 55). Subs not used: Lewis Noice, Craig McAllister, Dean Beckwith, Chris Dillon.
Basingstoke Town: Louis Wells (37 Ross Adams), Nathan Smart, Andrew Jenkinson, Matt Partridge (Wes Daly 64), Jay Gasson (c), Robbie Matthews, Louie Soares, Shaun McAuley,Manny Williams (Liam Enver-Marum 64), Nicholas Bignall, Simon Dunn. Subs not used: Kezie Ibe, Marcus Johnson-Schuster
Full report to follow…