EASTLEIGH’s relaid pitch was the focus of more controversy before the Spitfires extended their unbeaten start to the season.

The new Silverlake Stadium surface caused the match to be delayed by ten minutes a month after its condition persuaded Pompey to cancel a pre-season friendly there.

Games against Newport County and AFC Wimbledon were also cancelled last month.

Dagenham manager John Still said: “It was so soft you could have broken your ankle on it, if you walk on it you sink. 

“It’s not my job to say the pitch is not playable but the referee was very concerned. If the whole pitch was like that the game would not have been played.”

Eastleigh manager Richard Hill was refused to discuss it. 
“I know nothing about it, I’m not a groundsman and haven’t been to the groundsman’s academy school yet,” he told Radio Solent.

At least Ben Williamson gave Eastleigh something to cheer about, scoring a brace as the Spitfires came back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 at the end of the first half. 

But Eastleigh had to settle for a point against a side that arrived at the Silverlake with maximum points from its first two games.

Eastleigh goalkeeper Graham Stack was soon needed to tip a deflected free-kick over the crossbar, after Danny Hollands was booked for the challenge on Morgan Ferrier, and the visitors took a 13th-minute lead through two-goal Corey Whitely.

The former Enfield favourite scored in each of Dagenham’s wins last week and made the most of his one-on-one opportunity.

But Eastleigh responded well.

Mark Yeates, another of Eastleigh’s new signings, saw his 41st-minute strike tipped over the bar and Williamson equalised two minutes later.

Former AFC Bournemouth and Pompey star Danny Hollands showed his Football League class with a curled through ball to set up the first.

Then, in first-half injury time, Williamson put the Spitfires ahead from the penalty spot.

Ayo Obileye was brought down by substitute Kevin Lokko and Williamson slotted his and Eastleigh’s second into the bottom right corner.

Defender Gavin Hoyte received treatment after a clash of heads with Oliver Hawkins on the hour, before soldiering on with a bandaged head. 

Stack was called into action again in the 71st minute, when he tipped over from Andre Boucaud.

Then Whitely scored his second of the afternoon, equalising with a 74th-minute penalty.

“There’s a lot of frustration,” admitted Hill afterwards. “You have to be careful at times because if you’re not careful you can take out that frustration on the players.   

"We could have played better but our players deserve ten out of ten for commitment and endeavour.

“We’ve got a goalkeeper who can hardly move because of a groin strain and a right-back who can’t see out of one eye.”

Eastleigh: Stack, Hoyte, Green, Togwell, Wood, McCallum (Zebroski 30), Yeates (Matthews 80), Obileye, Hollands, Boyce, Williamson (Constable 73).
Subs not used: McAllister, Miley 
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Pennell, Doe (Lokko 36), Robson, Hawkins (Cheek 77), Ferrier, Okenabirhie (Romain 71),N’Gala, Boucard, Ling, Whitely.
Subs not used: MacNamara, Howells.

Eastleigh: Stack, Hoyte, Green, Togwell, Wood, McCallum (Zebroski 30), Yeates (Matthews 80), Obileye, Hollands, Boyce, Williamson (Constable 73).
Subs not used: McAllister, Miley.

Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Pennell, Doe (Lokko 36), Robson, Hawkins (Cheek 77), Ferrier, Okenabirhie (Romain 71), N’Gala, Boucard, Ling, Whitely.
Subs not used: MacNamara, Howells.

Attendance: 1,614