EASTLEIGH rounded off their helter-skelter National League campaign with a 1-1 mid-table draw against Wrexham this afternoon.

Having fallen behind at the start of the second half, the Spitfires hit back with a 73rd-minute poacher’s finish from Matt Tubbs to ensure they have wound up the season in 15th place.

With Graham Stack still struggling with an elbow problem, the Spitfires handed a home debut to emergency loan stopper Josh Barnes from Derby County – the seventh goalkeeper to have started a league game in what has been a turbulent season for the club.

Eastleigh made a couple of changes to the side beaten 2-0 at Solihull Moors last week with young left-back Chinua Cole replacing Jack Masterton and Craig McAllister restored to the starting XI in place of James Constable.

If Eastleigh have disappointed this season, so too have former Football League outfit Wrexham who arrived in Hampshire sitting just one point and one place better off than Eastleigh in 13th spot.

The Spitfires’ began brightly with their experienced front two of McAllister and Matt Tubbs working Wrexham’s defence hard, well supported by Ben Close.

McAllister had a shot blocked from Close’s assist and when the on-loan Portsmouth midfielder found Tubbs in space with a crossfield pass, it was a hands-on-head moment for the ex-Pompey and Bournemouth marksman who got his volleyed finish all wrong.

Barnes was a mere bystander until the 23rd minute when Wrexham forced a corner, but it was comfortably dealt with by the Eastleigh defence right under the noses of those watching from the upstairs hospitality suite of the impressive new clubhouse complex behind The Shed end goal.

The game meandered through to the half-hour mark when Sam Matthews, just named supporters’ player-of-the-month for April, livened up proceedings.

Stepping up to take a corner, forced by Tubbs, the AFC Bournemouth loanee sent in a dangerous inswinging kick which thudded off the crossbar.

Eastleigh recycled the ball which eventually came back to Matthews, but his hopeful strike from the right of area was comfortable for former Cherries goalkeeper Shwan Jalal.

Wrexham’s only ‘chance’ of note came when Ifeanyi Allen swung in a cross just out of reach of Jordan White at the far post.

Eastleigh 0 Wrexham 0

Having looked the side most likely to break the first-half deadlock, Eastleigh fell behind with a just a minute of the second period gone.

It was a messy affair too with Allen’s effort deflected into the path of the big No9 to bury from close range.

The ever-willing Matthews did his best to make swift amends but his left-foot strike from the edge of the box swerved narrowly off-target.

Wrexham’s Ollie Shenton then tried his luck from distance at the other end, catching the ball well and lashing it into the side netting.

Just when it looked like being a depressing finale for the Spitfires, they carved out an equaliser.

With the visitors appealing in vain for a free-kick, play went on with Constable – on as a 61st-minute sub for Paul Reid – forging his way to the right by-line and crossing for Tubbs to slide in with a poacher’s finish.

Tails up, Eastleigh piled on the pressure with another sub, Scott Wilson, testing Jalal with a superb shot on the turn before clever work by Tubbs saw him slip the ball through Anthony Barry’s legs before shooting wide.

On 65 minutes Close chipped a free-kick from the left towards the far post, forcing Jalal to touch it behind at full stretch.

Tubbs went off to a huge round of applause on 78 minutes to be replaced by young Academy product Tom Bearwish.

Shenton responded by unleashing another decent hit for the Welshmen which deflected out for a corner.

With 90 minutes approaching Barry floated in a deep free-kick for Wrexham which was headed just over by sub Martin Riley.

That was followed by another aerial raid, but young Eastleigh full-back Cole came to the rescue nodding White’s header off the line in stoppage timeNtumba Massanka went to ground challenging for the rebound, but half-hearted appeals for a Wrexham penalty fell on deaf ears.

Full time: Eastleigh 1 Wrexham 1

EASTLEIGH: Josh Barnes, Chinua Cole, Michael Green, Sam Togwell, Paul Reid (James Constable, 61), Gavin Hoyte,  Ben Close,  Sam Matthews, Matt Tubbs (Tom Bearwish, 78), Craig McAllister (Scott Wilson, 68), Hakeem Odoffin. Subs (not used): Ayo Obileye, Ben Strevens.

Referee: Carl Brook.                                                                               

Attendance: 2,588.