EASTLEIGH ease through to the FA Trophy fourth round with a comfortable 5-0 victory over depleted Isthmian League Premier high-fliers Enfield Town.

Jake Hesketh will claim his first hattrick while great goals from defenders Josh Hare and Andrew Boyce helped seal cup progression with little resistance at the Silverlake Stadium.

Hill pulled all the strings before his second-half substitution, providing each of the first three goals.

Manager Ben Strevens named a strong 4-4-2 to take on the lower-league outfit with Chesterfield and Maidenhead among sides who have been forced to withdraw from the competition after COVID cases meant they couldn’t fulfil fixtures.

The likes of Stockport and Grimsby, and Yeovil Town and Woking, meeting each other in the third round means many of the National League’s big-hitters are already out, on the road to Wembley.

That saw Strevens decide on just three personnel changes from their midweek 0-0 draw with high-fliers Solihull Moors, with Tom Broadbent and Harry Pritchard making way for Hesketh and Ryan Hill – while the Daily Echo understands Ben House was replaced by Tyrone Barnett due to a minor quadricep injury.

Enfield Town’s charges were heavily reduced with up to five players ruled out through positive COVID tests taken prior to the match.

And Eastleigh were comfortable in the opening exchanges but found chances only through Tom Whelan set-pieces, including an early free-kick scramble that should have seen Barnett turn in from close-range.

Vince Harper’s superb square was just tapped towards goal by Whitehall and it would have looked tidy but the situation commanded a more convincing finish, saved by the feet of Nathan McDonald at the near-post.

But it was former St Mary’s man Hesketh who opened the scoring after 35 minutes with his second competitive Spitfires goal, arriving at the back-post from Hill’s deep cross and confidently smashing across the net.

Hare doubled the advantage before half-time with a neat lifted finish after he was played in with pace to the right of McDonald’s box by the lively Hill once again.

Five minutes after the break, Hill’s fine performance continued with another well timed ball to release Hesketh beyond the back four with still some distance to travel before finding his second left-footed finish.

His strike was only the second time Enfield had conceded three so far this season.

Captain Danny Hollands went into referee Jason Richardson’s book for a bad foul that reduced Adam Cunnington to the surface for some minutes while he received treatment, Strevens using the pause to introduce Sam Smart in place of Hill.

Boyce added the fourth with a volley reminiscent of his 35-yard strike at Aldershot during the closing stages of last campaign – travelling with the same power but this time only having 10 yards to reach the destination from its launch point.

Hesketh then added what he will claim as his third 10 from time – but his powerful first-time strike inside the area cannoned down off the crossbar and bounced off McDonald who was right on his line and in.

The personal accolade would have been in no doubt but his next strike from outside the area too cannoned off the crossbar, but this time to safety, before substitute Harry Pritchard was also denied by the woodwork.

Eastleigh: McDonnell; Hare, Maghoma, Boyce, Harper (Kelly, 58); Hill (Smart, 64), Hollands, Whelan (Pritchard, 80), Hesketh; Whitehall, Barnett

Unused subs: Broadbent, Flitney (g/k)

Booked: Hollands

Enfield Town: McDonald; Joseph, Smith, Youngs, Bray, Gyebi, Taaffe, Kiangebeni, Cunnington, Faal, Coker

Subs: Kirwan, Cook, Noto, Walsh, Connolly (g/k)

Booked: Taaffe, Kiangebeni, Joseph