Eastleigh 0 Barrow 1.

Eastleigh’s hopes of making it eight wins from nine National League games were blown away by a gale – and a superbly organised Barrow side – at the Silverlake Stadium this afternoon.

A 29th-minute Jack Hindle goal meant that, for the second Saturday home game running, the Spitfires' play-off ambitions were dented by 1-0 defeat.

Conditions were made difficult by a swirling wind and it was mid-table Barrow, captained by former Spitfire Jason Taylor, who fashioned the first half-chance on nine minutes after a Spitfires move had broken down.

Josh Kay broke away down the right and the ball eventually made its way to Rhys Norrington-Davies on the left of the area whose shot took a heavy deflection into the safe hands of goalkeeper Luke Southwood.

That heralded a decent passage of play from Eastleigh but Chris Zebroski’s cross from the right was carried out by the blustery breeze for a goal kick.

The Bluebirds, already shorn of seven first-team players, suffered a further blow when No9 Jacob Blythe was forced off injured, opening the door for young Nathan Reid to make his debut.

Despite that setback, the Cumbrians – with a strong wind in their favour - carried the greater threat and Eastleigh had two let-offs in the space of as many minutes.

First Dan Jones blasted a left-foot effort over following some tidy passing in and around the Spitfires’ area. Then, seconds later, Norrington-Davies laid the ball off to John Rooney – younger brother of Wayne - whose shot also cleared the bar.

It took Eastleigh until the 25th minute to force their first corner after Mark Yeates had linked up with Josh Hare, but nothing came of the set-piece.

Jones then skied a free-kick at the other end after Danny Hollands had fouled Josh Kay 20 yards out, and it wasn’t long before the Spitfires found themselves behind.

A long ball over the top wiped out the whole Eastleigh defence and Jack HINDLE had acres of space to dart into before rounding Southwood and slotting into the gaping net.

Eastleigh looked a shadow of their normal selves in tricky, blustery conditions and when the opportunity of a free-kick presented itself wide right for Yeates, his whipped-in high ball was well claimed under pressure by Bluebirds goalkeeper Joel Dixon.

There was a flicker of excitement on 44 minutes when Zebroski nicked the ball off ex-Spitfire Taylor on the right, but there was absolutely no one in the box for the muscular No11 to aim at and his cross was easily cleared.

It was a poor first half by Eastleigh's recent high standards, but the conditions undoubtedly played their part and it was shameful to hear a smattering of boos ring out at half-time, aimed at a group of players who had led Eastleigh to the top of the divisional form charts.

Half-time: Eastleigh 0 Barrow 1.

Whether it was the gusting wind turning in their favour or the force of Ben Strevens’ half-time team talk, there was a greater sense of urgency about Eastleigh at the start of the second half as they looked to muster their first shot on target.

Yeates almost managed it on 55 minutes but his shot from the edge of the area rolled wide of Dixon’s right-hand post.

With the hour-mark approaching Strevens made his first roll of the dice, withdrawing the hard-working Zebroski and introducing Ben Williamson into attack.

The question now was whether they could unlock a battling Barrow defence, well marshalled by Taylor, while keeping the Bluebirds quiet on the break as driving rain came lashing down.

After Eastleigh's Michael Green had made a rare foray forward at one end to force a corner, Norrington-Davies then drove at the home defence and slammed the ball off Alex Wynter for a flag kick at the other end. It was headed out only as far as Rooney whose strike took a big deflection and the wind carried it out for a throw-in.

With nine minutes of normal time remaining on a truly wretched afternoon at the Silverlake, Strevens introduced the young, fresh legs of Cav Miley and Jack McKnight in place of Wynter and skipper Danny Hollands.

But there were more groans on 87 minutes when the ball came to Yeates, edge of the box, and – unlike his glorious strike against Maidstone on Tuesday – he ballooned his effort way over the bar.

There was almost disaster for Eastleigh with less two minutes of normal time remaining when Miley slipped on the skiddy Silverlake surface and goalscorer Hindle was played clean through once again. But his touch was heavy and Southwood dispossessed him with his feet.

A breathless end-to-end finale ensued and, but for a superb interception by Jones, Eastleigh might have capitalised on sub Williamson's dangerous delivery from the right.

Eastleigh kept pressing to the very end but their last chance of an equaliser disappeared when Hare looped a far-post header over from Yeates’s corner in the last action of the game.

Eastleigh: Luke Southwood, Josh Hare, Michael Green, Andrew Boyce, Reda Johnson, Alex Wynter (Cav Miley, 81), Oscar Gobern, Danny Hollands (Jack McKnight, 81), Paul McCallum, Chris Zebroski (Ben Williamson, 60), Mark Yeates. Subs (not used): Shaun Hobson, Ollie Dennett.

Referee: Shaun Farrer.

Attendance: 1,738