Boreham Wood 0 Eastleigh 1

EASTLEIGH have their first league victory under manager Martin Allen.

The Spitfires atoned for conceding a late equaliser in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Boreham Wood by edging the return match 1-0 at Meadow Park in today’s 1pm kick-off.

Scott Wilson’s goal early in the second half settled the issue, giving Eastleigh their first three-point haul in the National League since November 22 at Aldershot.

Ex-Barnet boss Allen made a raft of changes from midweek, welcoming back Michael Green from a heavy cold and loan man Hakeem Odoffin from suspension.

Adam Dugdale – fighting fit again after a lengthy injury – partnered Bondz N’Gala in central defence, while Wilson replaced Mikael Mandron up top.

Luke Coulson – subject of interest from several Football League clubs – was left out of the squad entirely, opening the door for ex-Sutton wide man Ross Stearn to make a rare start.

With on-loan Arsenal goalkeeper Ryan Huddart still sidelined by a sore knee, 19-year-old academy graduate Mark Childs again donned the gloves after deservedly taking the man-of-the-match plaudits on Tuesday.

Eastleigh started brightly, bossing the early exchanges – their best chance coming with five minutes gone.

Stearn, who had squandered a gilt-edged opportunity just prior to Wood’s stoppage-time leveller at the Silverlake, volleyed wide on the bounce from Tyler Garratt’s cross.

Childs, formerly on the Saints Second Chance Programme at the Sparsholt College Academy, had precious little to occupy him in the first half-hour.

On a rare occasion when the hosts looked threatening, Green’s solid defending inside the six-yard box snuffed out the danger from Morgan Ferrier.

Having scored three times in Allen’s first two league games as manager, striker James Constable’s season has suddenly come alive.

Twice he went close in the 27th and 31st minutes, firing one shot over from Green’s cross and having another, on the turn, saved by Wood 'keeper Grant Smith following lively work by Wilson.

With just over five first-half minutes to play, there was danger for the visitors when Angelo Balanta slipped Anthony Jeffrey through, but Eastleigh defended strongly again through ex-Morecambe man Dugdale.

Boreham Wood upped the pressure with half-time approaching and Spitfires’ midfielder Sam Togwell kept his wits about him to hook Ferrier’s goalbound header clear before another Wood strike appeared to clip the bar on its way over.

Half-time: 0-0.

Three minutes into the second half, Eastleigh got the break they were striving for – and it was a late Christmas present from their Hertfordshire hosts.

Defender David Stephens’ back pass sold Smith short under pressure from Wilson and the pacy former Weston-super-Mare marksman coolly nicked the ball past the ’keeper before netting his fourth goal of the campaign.

Jeffrey shot wide and Childs made his first save of the match from Femi Ilesanmi as Wood responded and then Constable drew another stop from Smith at the other end.

With 57 minutes gone Allen replaced midfielder Jai Reason with the more defensively-minded Connor Essam and, five minutes later, goal scorer Wilson made way for transfer-listed targetman Ryan Bird.

Predictably the Spitfires had to soak up plenty of late pressure as Boreham Wood threw everything at them in search of an equaliser, but young Childs stood up well to sub Ricky Shakes’ power-packed strike.

The teenager did better still with six minutes of normal time remaining with a breathtaking double stop.

Having used a strong hand to take the sting out of sub Bruno Andrade’s goalbound shot, he miraculously sprang up and stopped it crossing the line to keep the Spitfires’ slender lead intact.

Eastleigh: Mark Childs, Michael Green, Adam Dugdale, Tyler Garratt, Hakeem Odoffin, Bondz N'Gala, Ross Stearn (Ben Strevens, 79), Jai Reason (Connor Essam, 57), Sam Togwell, Scott Wilson (Ryan Bird, 62), James Constable. Subs: David Pipe, Mikael Mandron.

Referee: Craig Hicks.

Attendance: 445.