RICHARD Hill cut a contented enough figure after Eastleigh’s opening day 0-0 draw at Bromley.

For all his misgivings about kicking off the season on the 3G pitch at Hayes Lane, Hill’s new-look Spitfires acquitted themselves well on the artificial surface.

Settling far more quickly than their hosts, they came within inches of making their first-half domination count when man mountain centre-back Reda Johnson crashed a header off the top of the crossbar.

Bromley improved after the break and their best opportunity fell to Louis Dennis who smacked a close-range header into the turf and over.

Eastleigh entered their fourth season as a Vanarama National League club having won all three of their previous opening-day games against Nuneaton, Southport and Guiseley.

It wasn’t to be this time but, all things considered, Hill was pleased to go home with a point.

“We did alright for 60 per cent of the game,” he said. “Yes, we could have been a little bit more clinical in front of goal and when we had the ball in the last third of the pitch.

“In the first half we were almost definitely the better team. We were dominant. We just didn’t have that cutting edge.

“There were a couple of times when we could have had a shot at goal and we didn’t do it.

“We needed to score in the first-half hour when we were imposing ourselves on them quite a lot.

“We had a couple of set-pieces later in the game that we might have done more with and Bromley could probably say the same – but then you’d expect them to as the home side.

“But for us to come away from home, first game of the season on an unknown surface, you’re pleased with that.”

A point was no more than Eastleigh deserved for a disciplined performance in which they worked hard on and off the ball.

With Johnson and new signing Andrew Boyce solid at the back, their clean sheet rarely looked threatened, while summer arrivals Mark Yeates, Ben Williamson and Paul McCallum showed flickers of first-half promise in attack.

Above all, though, Hill will have been pleased with the workrate of his side, which featured six new starters– Boyce, Danny Hollands, Sam Wood, Yeates, Williamson and McCallum – while another, Chris Zebroski, came off the bench and went inches wide with a late header.

“This level of football for me is not about being expansive, it’s not about having flair,” said Hill. “You need one or two players that can change games for you, I get that, but to do anything in this league, it’s about working hard.”

Bromley boss Neil Smith summed up: “Eastleigh dominated the first half but in the second half we grew into the game.

“We expect Eastleigh to be up there this season and I’m pleased we kept them on the back foot in the second half.”

With their points account officially open, the Spitfires will be looking to bank some more in two home games this week against Sutton United on Tuesday (7.45pm) and Dagenham & Redbridge (Saturday, 3pm).

Sutton, managed by ex-Spitfires boss Paul Doswell, got their season off to a cracking start, upstaging Football League fall guys Leyton Orient 2-0 in the live televised game at Gander Green Lane.

Both goals came from former Eastleigh players – a Jamie Collins penalty and a Dean Beckwith finish set up by yet another ex-Spitfire Ross Lafayette.

“I would describe that as a real National League performance,” purred Doswell.

Eastleigh: Graham Stack, Gavin Hoyte, Michael Green, Sam Togwell, Reda Johnson, Andrew Boyce, Sam Wood, Danny Hollands, Paul McCallum (Craig McAllister, 75) Ben Williamson (Chris Zebroski, 67), Mark Yeates (Ross Stearn, 83). Subs (not used): James Constable, Ayo Obileye.

Referee: Christopher Pollard (Suffolk).

Attendance: 1,228 (121 Eastleigh).