A STUNNING Tom Whelan free-kick bags Eastleigh all three points as they come from behind to defeat Altrincham 2-1 in the National League, at the Silverlake Stadium.

The visitors from Greater Manchester took the lead with a corner in the first five minutes through Jake Moult, before substitute and club captain Danny Hollands drew Ben Strevens’ side level from a corner of their own early in the second-half.

Former Saint Jake Hesketh, who scored his first Spitfires goal during the midweek FA Cup replay with Folkestone Invicta, won a free-kick on the edge of the area and Whelan, who crossed for Hollands, whipped the effort into the postage stamp area of the Alty goal.

Strevens named one change from the midweek contest with Harry Pritchard replacing full-back Josh Hare, but he was forced into an early substitution after an injury to centre-back Tom Broadbent in the first half.

Following Moult’s opener, Altrincham almost had a second goal in quick succession as Matty Kosylo was inches away from connecting following a great move between Shaun Densmore and Tom Peers.

Hesketh thought he had found an equaliser, and his first league goal for his new side, but his effort crashed down off the crossbar, seemingly over the line, and bounced out – but with no goalline technology to intervene, the referee didn’t award the goal.

With Hollands’ header and Whelan’s wicked free-kick completing the second-half turnaround, the onus was on the visitors to attack and the Spitfires were forced to stave off a wave of chances late in the second period.

Cav Miley had a chance to ease nerves with a run from the edge of the area, but only went close.

Eastleigh were able to stand firm, though, picking up a crucial result and a second 2-1 win in succession after they beat Wealdstone by the same margin last time.

The three points see them sit 13th in the table with 15 from their opening 11 games, some seven points off Solihull (22) in seventh – but with a game in hand.

Eastleigh XI: McDonnell, Maghoma, Boyce, Broadbent, Harper, Miley, Whelan, Hesketh, Pritchard, Barnett, House

Subs: Kelly, Hill, Low, Whitehall, Hollands