Eastleigh Football Club secured their first victory of the 2017/18 National League campaign after edging out FA Cup heroes Sutton United by a single goal to nil at the Silverlake Stadium.
Ben Williamson’s first goal for the Spitfires – and the club’s first of the season – proved enough to overturn a physical and well-organised Sutton side.
The away side dominated the contest in the early exchanges, earning a series of corners from which Aswad Thomas was eventually unlucky not to head the visitors into the lead, however his effort sailed harmlessly over Graham Stack’s crossbar.
Kieron Cadogan then forced a goal line clearance from another new addition to Richard Hill’s ranks, Andrew Boyce, as the former Grimsby defender got down well to block Cadogan’s rasping drive from the edge of the area towards the bottom-left corner of the Eastleigh goal.
It took half an hour for the hosts to find a foothold in the match, Michael Green’s searching run from halfway resulting in a cross towards the head of Paul McCallum, however his effort looped high and harmlessly into Sutton ‘keeper Jamie Butler’s arms.
The decisive spell in the game for Eastleigh came in a ten-minute window after half-time.
Danny Hollands was unlucky not to open the scoring after the ball dropped invitingly inside the area, however the former Portsmouth midfielder skewed his shot agonisingly wide to the ‘keepers right.
Williamson was also denied after latching on to the end of a long-distance clearance from Stack, before composing himself and firing his effort straight at Butler.
He would not, however, be prevented from opening his account for the Spitfires four minutes later.
Mark Yeates found himself in acres of space on the right flank before piling forward into the box. His initial effort was parried by Butler and in the resulting goal-mouth scramble Williamson was on hand to bundle the ball in at point-blank range and give Eastleigh the lead.
Substitute James Constable was unlucky not to double the hosts’ advantage in the closing stages as his effort hit the crossbar.
A first victory of the new season means Eastleigh jump up the National League standings to 7th, with four points from a possible six in their opening two matches.
They face erstwhile Football League side Dagenham and Redbridge at the Silverlake Stadium this coming Saturday [12th August].
Attendance: 1,744 (153 away).