EASTLEIGH have confirmed that their rearranged National League showdown against Macclesfield Town on February 21 will remain a free-entry game.

But that will come as scant consolation to Spitfires fans who forked out good money for yesterday’s truly dreadful 1-0 home defeat by relegation-battling Woking who played the last 25 minutes with ten men.

Even manager Martin Allen conceded that the performance – an abject first half in particular – was nowhere near good enough from a side built, at some considerable cost, with promotion in mind.

With Eastleigh now a mediocre 13th in the table, 11 points off the top five, even a late play-off charge is beginning to look like a pipe dream.

Allen was not in the market for excuses afterwards, admitting: “The first half was not up to the standard I need, not up to the standard we need and not up to the standard the paying public want.

“It was appalling, there was just nothing there.

“We didn’t win any headers, didn’t win any tackles, didn’t pass it and didn’t get in behind them.

“We didn’t have any pace and we didn’t have any energy.

“We were close in the second half and had two or three cleared off the line but, overall, I don’t think we deserved anything.

"The first half was shocking.”

Woking arrived at the Silverlake Stadium in 22nd place but, for 45 minutes, they had Eastleigh chasing shadows.

Allen – the Spitfires’ third boss of a frustratingly disjointed season – has done his best to put his own stamp on the team.

And following the 1-1 draw at Sutton a week earlier – Eastleigh’s fourth league game unbeaten – he had a feeling they were turning the corner.

But the Spitfires' failings were laid horribly bare by Woking’s pace, movement and power in the first half and, but for some fine saves by experienced goalkeeper Graham Stack, the Cards could easily have built on Gozie Ugwu’s 16th-minute headed winner from Dennon Lewis’s cross.

Eastleigh were better after the break, particularly following the 60th-minute introduction of ex-Wolves winger Mekhi McLeod whose injection of vitality prompted Lewis’s 68th-minute dismissal for two fouls inside three minutes.

McLeod’s arrival, for James Constable, was Allen’s last roll of the dice, having replaced wide midfielder Tyler Garratt with top scorer Mikael Mandron five minutes before half-time and withdrawn left-back Michael Green at the break.

Armed with the long throws of Green’s replacement Sam Muggleton, Eastleigh bombarded the Woking area, but Garry Hill’s Cards defended as if their lives depended on it and even Allen could not begrudge them the three points.

Hinting that there is still much work to do to turn Eastleigh around, the former Barnet boss said: “It must be obvious to everyone (that things are wrong). I’m the third manager here in six months and change is obviously needed.

“I knew before I came here that there was a lot of work to do and these games just confirm it. Today’s, I think you could say, was a pivotal moment.

“All the players are in on Monday morning and it’s probably time to have a few chats…”

Eastleigh: Graham Stack, Hakeem Odoffin, Michael Green (Sam Muggleton, 46), Sam Togwell, Bondz N’Gala, Adam Dugdale, Tyler Garratt (Mikael Mandron, 40), Jai Reason, James Constable (Mekhi McLeod, 60), Darius Henderson, Ross Stearn. Subs (not used): Ben Strevens, Ayo Obileye.

Referee: Alan Young.

Attendance: 2,036