Eastleigh 2 Woking 2.

EASTLEIGH’S long wait for a home win continues following a breathless 2-2 National League draw against ten-man Woking at the Silverlake Stadium this afternoon.

Despite leading through Chris Zebroski after the Cards’ Chez Isaac had been sent off, the Spitfires contrived to fall 2-1 down before Callum Howe spared their blushes with a late leveller.

It was thrilling festive fayre for the 2,067 crowd, but yet another missed opportunity for Eastleigh who have now drawn 13 games in the National League this season and picked up just five points from the last available 21 on home soil.

The Spitfires made one change to the side held 1-1 by ten-man Torquay United on Boxing Day, restoring Mark Yeates to the starting line-up in place of fellow wideman Bradley Hudson-Odoi.

Eastleigh had the best of the early chances with the strength of Chris Zebroski evident from the start.

A push on the Spitfires’ No 11 by Cards skipper Richard Orlu presented Eastleigh with a centrally placed free-kick right on the edge of the area. Sam Matthews curled it up and over the wall, but it took a slight nick on its way wide.

Three minutes later Orlu’s hasty clearance, under pressure from Zebroski, fell straight to Matthews just outside the box, but his low, goal-bound strike was straight at Cards keeper Nathan Baxter.

The first glimpse of Woking as an attacking force came on nine minutes when Jamie Philpot’s cushioned header back across goal was not too far away from Kane Ferdinand.

Zebroski’s physical presence earned him an entry into referee Chris O’Donnell’s notebook for a foul on Louis Ramsey, right in front of an incensed Woking dugout.

Eastleigh then took control of the game with a series of dangerous deliveries from Sam Wood, Matthews and Yeates, but the best of the bunch was from that man Zebroski who brought the best out of young Chelsea loanee Baxter with a glorious angled shot from the right.

From out of nowhere, the Cards piled on some pressure of their own and it needed a brilliant block by Gavin Hoyte to calm the panic in the Eastleigh box after Andrew Boyce had been forced to concede a corner from Matt Young’s teasing cross.

Chances then presented themselves at either end with a slick passage of Eastleigh play ending with Zebroski hurdling Baxter on the right of the area only to being beaten by the angle as he fired into the side netting.

Back came Woking with the clearest opening of the game – Millwall loanee striker Philpot beating the offside trap to race onto Young’s pass, but failing miserably to outwit Spitfires ’keeper Graham Stack one-on-one.

The Surrey visitors threatened again towards the break with Philpot this time teeing up Joe Ward, who slid his shot wide.

Half-time: Eastleigh 0 Woking 0.

Eastleigh made a half-time substitution with goalkeeping coach Ross Flitney replacing Stack, who had been struggling with his kicking first half due to a sore groin.

Woking’s Fabio Saraiva immediately tried to catch Flitney cold, but his shot was well off target from range and the replacement keeper’s first touch of the ball was a comfortable low save from Philpot.

Paul McCallum then lofted an effort over at the other end before, for the second time in five days, Eastleigh found themselves up against ten men.

Referee O’Donnell had no hesitation brandishing red after Jersey midfielder Cav Miley had been caught by a reckless challenge from Chez Isaac just inside the Woking half.

Predictably Isaac’s walk of shame heralded a flurry of Eastleigh activity with skipper Callum Howe heading a decent chance wide from Matthews’ assist.

Woking made a change, introducing frontline powerhouse Inih Effiong for Philpot, but two minutes later came the breakthrough the Spitfires had been craving.

Terrific work by Yeates found star man Zebroski free on the right of the area and Baxter didn’t stand a chance as the pumped-up marksman rifled the ball hard and low into the far bottom corner for a 64th-minute breakthrough.

The Spitfires should have had another when Yeates whipped in a fabulous ball from the left which was narrowly missed by McCallum at full stretch at the far post.

The Cards instantly made a second change with Charlie Carter replacing Saraiva and, wouldn’t you just know it, the two subs combined for a Woking equaliser with 70 minutes gone.

The giant figure of Effiong held the ball up and there was Carter to bury the ball right-footed for 1-1.

McCallum, who had hurt his groin reaching for that earlier chance, made way for Craig McAllister with 17 minutes to go.

Eastleigh continued to create chances with Zebroski heading over and Matthews planting one wide, but there was danger for the Spitfires every time ten-man Woking surged forward with pace and it needed a last-ditch challenge by Howe to prevent Effiong capitalising.

But on 83 minutes disaster struck for the Spitfires as Danny Hollands needlessly kicked Carter from behind inside the area and, with the distraught Eastleigh midfielder unable to watch, Effiong stepped up to hammer home from the spot.

Hollands was immediately replaced by James Constable who came within inches of an equaliser in a frantic finale when his shot hit the post.

But just when it looked like another frustrating afternoon for the Spitfires, salvation came in the last minute of normal time when Woking failed the clear a corner and Howe was left unmarked beyond the far post to thump home for 2-2.

Eastleigh: Graham Stack (Ross Flitney, 46), Gavin Hoyte, Sam Wood, Danny Hollands (James Constable, 84), Andrew Boyce, Callum Howe, Cavaghn Miley, Sam Matthews, Chris Zebroski, Paul McCallum (Craig McAllister, 73), Mark Yeates. Subs: Ayo Obileye, Bradley Hudson-Odoi.

Referee: Chris O’Donnell.

Attendance. 2,067.