GOALKEEPING coach Ross Flitney was the hero as Eastleigh completed back-to-back National League wins for the first time this season with a dogged 2-1 result at rock-bottom Torquay United.

Flitney, deputising for the injured Graham Stack, psyched out Jamie Reid from the penalty spot ten minutes from time to preserve the Spitfires’ slender advantage.

Reid had beaten Stack in a 1-1 draw at the Silverlake on Boxing Day but, between them, the two Eastleigh keepers did their homework to ensure lightning didn’t strike twice.

Flitney said: “He (Reid) did the same against us in the last game and me and Stacky worked together on it. To be fair, it was a better penalty last time.

“We had a laugh about it and I said to him (Reid) ‘you went the same way again’ and he said ‘you got in my head from the spot!’

Eastleigh boss Andy Hessenthaler was not convinced it was a penalty in the first place.

Sam Wood was penalised for bringing down George Dowling, but Hessenthaler said: “It looked harsh to me. Woodsy’s slipped over, tried to get his leg out the way and the fella’s gone down.

"I was disappointed in the decision and it’s a little bit of justice in the end that Rosco’s made the save.

“It’s a fantastic win for us– probably better than the Dagenham & Redbridge one.

“Torquay are fighting for their lives and they played well, to be fair, but credit to our players for being resilient.

“That’s six games unbeaten for us now, so things are looking up.”

Leading Eastleigh to victory at Plainmoor was a fitting farewell for skipper/centre-back Callum Howe who is returning to his parent club Lincoln.

Thankfully, fellow loanee Sam Matthews is staying for the rest of the season and it was the livewire AFC Bournemouth midfielder who set Eastleigh on their way with a magical ninth-minute opener.

Picking the ball up some 40 yards out, Matthews jinked his way through the Gulls defence before beating ex-Spitfires keeper Ryan Clarke from the edge of the box.

Bradley Hudson-Odoi was denied by Sean McGinty’s hacked clearance before Eastleigh’s lead evaporated on 33 minutes when Luke Young struck from 20 yards.

Danny Hollands was forced off just before half-time, Sam Togwell replacing the injured Eastleigh midfielder, and all Hessenthaler’s subs were used up by 66 minutes with fit-again top scorer Ben Williamson and James Constable replacing Hudson-Odoi and Mark Yeates.

The winner, though, came from an unlikely source as right-back Gavin Hoyte claimed his first goal of the season.

Following good play by Cav Miley and Matthews on the left, the ball arrived at Hoyte’s feet at the back stick and the ex-Barnet defender took a touch before beating Clarke with an assured 70th-minute finish.

The win lifts resurgent Eastleigh to 14th spot, eight points shy of the play-off zone.

They are on the travels again next Saturday, away on the 3G pitch at Maidstone.