Eastleigh Football Club turned in their most impressive performance of pre-season after losing 3-2 to EFL Championship side Sheffield United in an action-packed five-goal thriller under the floodlights on a wet night at the Silverlake Stadium.
A spirited performance against the Blades crowned a successful pre-season programme thus far, with the Spitfires keeping five consecutive clean sheets prior to Friday evenings match, scoring 18 goals of their own in the process.
Ross Stearn has been one of Eastleigh’s stars as they gear up for the new National League campaign – and he nearly opened the scoring against Sheffield United inside five minutes after cutting inside and placing a shot narrowly past the far post.
United’s creativity in the final third was evident from the off, manifesting itself in an early lead through Enda Steven’s side-footed finish inside ten minutes.
Danny Lafferty dealt the hosts a potential sucker punch moments later, lashing in from 30 yards past Graham Stack to double the Blades’ advantage.
James Constable brought Eastleigh back into the game with a low finish past Jamal Blackman after getting on the end of Stearn’s through ball, sending the Spitfires into the break a goal behind.
Graham Stack did well to parry a headed effort from Leon Clarke, however Matt Done was on the spot to finish high into the net past the former Arsenal and Reading shot-stopper to reinstate his team’s two goal advantage.
Craig McAllister’s short pass unlocked space for fellow substitute Ben Strevens to fire home and complete the scoring, but with only a few minutes remaining it was too little, too late for Eastleigh to mount a comeback.
Regardless, a spirited performance against Championship opposition will fill Manager Richard Hill with confidence as his side get closer to their National League-opening fixture against Bromley on August 5th.