CHRIS Todd was left rueing Jamie Turley’s second-half dismissal at Braintree as the moment that Eastleigh’s hopes of securing back-to-back National League victories went up in smoke.

The Spitfires already trailed to Simeon Akinola’s first-half strike, which Todd also felt should have been avoided, when Turley’s 48th-minute foul on the goalscorer earned the Eastleigh man a second yellow card, writes Paul McNamara.

Despite the spirited attempts of the visitors’ ten men to draw level, and the late sending off of the home team’s centre-half Matt Fry, Todd’s team were eventually sunk by Akinola’s second goal of the game, with five minutes to play.

“I didn’t feel there was much in the first half,” said Todd. “Then we gave away a silly goal from nothing, which changed the game.

“There were some big moments that changed the match: the goal in the first half, and then the sending off in the second half which has cost us the game.”

Despite his obvious frustration in the immediate wake of a defeat that followed hot on the heels of the Spitfires’ midweek win over league frontrunners Cheltenham Town, Todd refused to single out any of his players for criticism.

He said: “I’ll stick with the players. They’re the footballers on the pitch. But I’ll stick by them because they’re my players.

“It is disappointing, though, and they’re disappointed in there because we believe we’ve let ourselves down a little bit today.

“That’s football, though. It does happen. We’ve got 12 games to go now, eight of those at home, and we’ve got to go and win some football matches.”

Todd disagreed when it was put to him that this loss at the hands of fellow play-off hopefuls Braintree was the most disappointing result of his five-month-old reign.

“It’s the most frustrating result, but not the most disappointing,” said the Eastleigh boss.

“The performance, at times, was there. It was three bad decisions, really. That’s the league it is. It’s a mistake league. You try to stay solid, not make those mistakes and give yourself a chance.

“It’s frustrating because after Tuesday (against Cheltenham) we had turned the corner. Today I thought we were comfortable in the first half. We were in the game, doing really well and they didn’t look any problem to us.

“Then we give a silly goal away that changes everything.”

While Braintree manager Danny Cowley savoured what he believed was his side’s best performance of their remarkable season, his Eastleigh counterpart was left to focus on Woking’s visit to the Silverlake Stadium on Tuesday night.

“We have to pick ourselves up and stay positive,” said Todd.

“There will be one or two changes to the team on Tuesday. There will have to be, with the sending off and a couple of injuries.

“There’s no time to dwell on today. We’ve got another game in three days and if we get a win we’re back on track again.”

Key midfielder Andy Drury, who limped off in the closing minutes at the Amlin Stadium, is a doubt for Woking’s visit.

And with Turley now due a ban and the experienced Ben Strevens two games into a seven-match suspension, Todd admits his need for new players has become more pressing.

He said: “I’m going to have to get players in now because of the situation with the injuries. There will hopefully be one or two coming in soon.”