Eastleigh 2 Tranmere Rovers 0.

EASTLEIGH put Tuesday’s Woking woes firmly behind them with a thoroughly professional 2-0 home win over Tranmere Rovers in the Vanarama National League this afternoon.

Following a goalless first half, Ben Williamson fired the Spitfires in front with his fourth goal of the season and the ever dependable Craig McAllister doubled their advantage with a typically towering header after going on as a substitute.

It moves the Spitfires up to tenth with eight points from five games played.

With Gavin Hoyte sidelined by hamstring problems, Ayo Obileye slotted in as Eastleigh right-back while Sam Wood replaced Michael Green in the left-back berth.

There were danger signals for Eastleigh as early as the second minute when Liam Ridehalgh delivered a dangerous ball in for Andy Cook whose attempted shot deflected over the bar under the close attention of Andrew Boyce.

The Spitfires’ response was an adventurous run along the left by-line by wideman Mark Yeates, who rode a couple of challenges before rippling the side netting.

Title tips Tranmere, looking to improve on a low-key start to the season after finishing 2016/17 runners-up, threatened again on 12 minutes when Connor Jennings headed over Adam Buxton’s deep cross.

Eastleigh responded with their most positive spell of the game – top scorer Williamson sending a diving header just wide from Sam Wood’s delivery and then neatly laying the ball off to Yeates who, in turn, fed Chris Zebroski, whose shot was charged down.

With the bit between his teeth, Zebroski forced a corner and a loud cry for handball went up as Yeates’s delivery came in but there was nothing doing with referee Carl Brook.

Zebroski’s enthusiasm eventually got the better of him when, after being lectured for one foul, he was booked for another on Rovers’ Jay Harris.

On 29 minutes, following a long throw from Obileye, Eastleigh skipper Sam Togwell was fouled on the very edge of the box.

Yeates demonstrated good skill in lifting the free-kick over the wall, but it narrowly cleared Scott Davies’s crossbar.

After a spell bossing the game, Eastleigh so nearly fell behind on 31 minutes when Buxton sent in another tempting delivery and Jennings’ glancing header crashed off the inside of the far post with Ross Flitney beaten.

Tranmere striker Cook then went into Mr Brook’s notebook for catching Ross Stearn as he tried to clear the ball in the right-back zone.

With neither side properly getting a grip on the game, Eastleigh’s Danny Hollands played safety first by diverting Ridehaigh’s awkward ball behind and, from the corner, Cook headed well over from inside a crowded six-yard box.

Half-time: Eastleigh 0 Tranmere 0.

The Spitfires made a change for the start of the second half with experienced targetman Craig McAllister replacing the yellow-carded Zebroski.

The big man instantly made his presence felt, nodding on Sam Wood’s cross to Ross Stearn who whistled a shot across goal and wide.

With the contest getting ever more physical, man mountain defender Obileye was the next player booked for bringing down James Norwood and, as the action lurched from end to end, there was a mad scramble in the Tranmere box with another Eastleigh shout for handball falling on deaf ears.

Things livened up dramatically on the hour when Tranmere goalkeeper Davies stood up well to Williamson after the Eastleigh striker had been expertly played through by Danny Hollands.

Rovers immediately cleared the ball upfield and, with Boyce misreading his header, it fell on a plate for Norwood, wide left, who whistled his shot across the goal face, wasting arguably the clearest chance of the game.

But just a matter of seconds later, it was the Spitfires who grabbed the lead with 64 minutes gone.

WILLIAMSON came in from the right and, with ’keeper Davies expecting a cross, he was stunned to be beaten at his near post as the former Cambridge United striker found the far top corner from an improbable angle for his fourth goal of the season.

With the 1,906 crowd lifted, midfielder Sam Matthews – on as a sub for Stearn – scampered into the box and went down among a posse of defenders, but a penalty would have been optimistic.

After Buxton had been booked for handball, Tranmere suddenly raised their game with Boyce nicking the ball away from Jeff Hughes as he looked to cash in on Oliver Norburn’s cross and then Jennings unleashing a thumping strike straight at Flitney.

Sub Jack Dunn later swerved a shot into Flitney’s side netting, but not before Williamson had forced another Eastleigh corner.

The game’s second goal looked increasingly on the cards and, thankfully, it went Eastleigh’s way in the 79th minute with both subs playing their part.

On-loan AFC Bournemouth midfielder Matthews curled in a delightful ball and there was the towering figure of McALLISTER to head in off the underside of the crossbar. It hit keeper Davies, but appeared to have already crossed the line.

With clear daylight between the sides, Eastleigh boss Richard Hill threw on James Constable for Williamson, who was soon to be named man-of-the-match.

Dunn forced a good save from Flitney, diving to his right, as Rovers tried to rally, but the afternoon belonged to Hill’s well-drilled Eastleigh side who can head to Leyton Orient next Saturday in good heart.

Eastleigh: Ross Flitney, Ayo Obileye, Sam Wood, Sam Togwell, Andrew Boyce, Callum Howe, Danny Hollands, Ross Stearn (Sam Matthews, 60), Chris Zebroski (Craig McAllister, 46), Ben Williamson (James Constable, 80), Mark Yeates. Subs (not used): Michael Green, Cavaghn Miley.

Referee: Carl Brook.

Attendance: 1,906 (330 Tranmere)