EASTLEIGH boss Richard Hill claimed "poor mistakes" at the start of the second half led to his side's 3-2 defeat at National League leaders Chesterfield.

The Spitfires conceded three goals in 23 minutes after half-time before a late rally gave them hope, but it was ultimately not enough to turn the game around.

After going 3-0 behind, Paul McCallum's 16th goal of the National League season and Scott Quigley's excellent finish gave Eastleigh a chance.

Despite the defeat, Hill insisted that he could not fault the commitment of his players but it was a frustrating result for the visitors.

Speaking to Eastleigh's club media, he said: "That was frustrating really. We were away from home at Chesterfield and scored two goals.

"In the first half, I think we did alright. We were compact. I had to change the formation a little bit. I didn’t like doing that but we had to. Otherwise, we were just waiting for defeat.

"We got in at half time and you go out second half and you know the first 15 minutes are going to be tough. We didn’t defend well enough and we made poor mistakes. 

"We made two bad mistakes in the first 15 minutes of the second half and the game is over. I can’t fault the lads' performance in terms of endeavour and commitment.

"It is okay coming back and making it 3-2. You are going to turn around to me and say that it makes it look respectable. It is easy to play when you are 3-0 down."

Hill believes that it is important to try and beat teams like Chesterfield rather than thinking of it as a 'free hit'.

Chesterfield are now 11 points clear at the top of the division after finishing third behind Wrexham and Notts County last season.

Hill continued: "Chesterfield are a good team, we know they are a good team with good players. When you have good players, you will always find a way. It is difficult coming here.

"We’ve seen that last season when we played Wrexham and when we played Notts County. It is difficult playing these teams but you have to try and beat them.

"You can’t just look at it and go it’s a free hit. You have to try and win and that is the frustrating thing about it. We’ve scored two goals away from home at Chesterfield and come home losing."

Eastleigh host League One outfit Reading up next in the FA Cup second round, with the fixture taking place on Sunday, December 3 (1:30PM).

Hill is set to address the media ahead of the clash later this week, while the meeting with Ruben Selles' Royals is scheduled for television coverage.