Eastleigh 0 Boreham Wood 2.

EASTLEIGH suffered their first defeat under manager Andy Hessenthaler this afternoon, beaten 2-0 at home by Boreham Wood.

Second-half goals from sub Morgan Ferrier and Bruno Andrade (penalty) condemned the Spitfires to their first Vanarama National League defeat in ten games.

Fit-again striker Chris Zebroski returned to the starting line-up along with Cav Miley who was rested at Fylde last week.

The Spitfires struggled to get out of their own half in the early stages, allowing Boreham Wood to knock the ball around with ease and it needed a timely tackle by centre-back Andrew Boyce on Kane Smith to cut out a potentially threatening move.

But it was Eastleigh who produced the first menacing moment of a grey, drizzly afternoon when, following a foul on January’s National League player-of-the-month Sam Wood, Sam Matthews’ decliciously curling free-kick was turned over two-handedly by Wood keeper Grant Smith before it could creep under the crossbar.

That was about as exciting as it got for the first 20 minutes or so and it wasn’t until Ryan Broom had Smith back-pedalling with a decent-looking cross from the right that expectation levels rose again, but the ball landed harmlessly on the roof of the net.

Two minutes later Wood’s Bruno Andrade tried a shot at goal at full stretch which skimmed along the greasy surface, but it was never going to trouble Spitfires' keeper Graham Stack who saved low to his right.

Little had been seen of Zebroski until, with 28 minutes on the clock, he thundered in a piledriver from the left channel which Smith turned round his near post for a corner. It was taken short, the ball coming back to Broom whose dangerous delivery was scrambled clear by the visitors who look unsettled at the back for the first time.

Eastleigh kept up the pressure and this time Broom delivered a terrific ball from the right which Williamson met with a flicked header that went just wide of the near post.

With few Boreham Wood fans having made the trip down from Hertfordshire, the atmosphere was subdued around the Silverlake and that seemed to translate onto the pitch with the game crying out for the goal.

With a bit more composure, the visitors might have got one on 43 minutes when Kane Smith delivered from the right, Andrade went up with Danny Woodards for the header and the ball fell for Angelo Balanta who sliced it wastefully across the goal face.

As the game ticked into a minute’s stoppage time, Kieran Murtagh sent in another Wood cross from the right, but Andrade couldn’t get any power behind his header.

Half-time: Eastleigh 0 Boreham Wood 0.

Eastleigh had a let-off at the start of the second half when Stack came haring out of his area and, faced with Andrade, managed to get his knee in the way and divert the danger.

Suddenly there was some urgency from Eastleigh who stepped up their game and created three good chances in the space of five minutes.

First full-back Wood’s cross was scrambled off the line as Zebroski and Broom flung themselves at the ball at the near post, and then Broom’s delivery from the right was cleared only as far as Miley who snatched at his shot and fired well over.

Before Boreham Wood could draw breath, on-loan Bristol Rovers wideman Broom had sent in another cracking delivery and this time Grant Smith did brilliantly to save Williamson’s near-post header.

At that stage only one team looked like scoring but, against the run of play, it was visitors who got their noses in front with 57 minutes gone.

It was substitute MORGAN FERRIER who inflicted the damage in his first game since returning to the Hertfordshire outfit from Dagenham & Redbridge for a record fee this week.

He took the ball down with one foot, turned his man with the other and ruthlessly smashed the ball past Stack.

It got worse for Eastleigh ten minutes later when, in trying to atone for losing possession, Spitfires' centre-back Ryan Cresswell wrestled Andrade to the ground inside the box.

The defender was adamant his shirt was being tugged, but referee Savvas Yianni was having none of it and pointed to the spot.

ANDRADE took the kick himself and sent a fuming Stack the wrong way in increasingly wretched conditions.

Eastleigh boss Hessenthaler sent on Mark Yeates and then James Constable in an effort to rescue at least a point, with Boyce and Zebroski making way.

There was a glimmer of hope when a half clearance from Wood’s cross hit Williamson’s boot, but the striker knew nothing much about it and the ball ricocheted harmlessly into the keeper’s arms.

Matthews then tested Wood with another beautifully struck free-kick, this time curled in from the right. Smith appeared to get a touch as it narrowly cleared the bar, but the visitors were adamant he didn’t even though a corner was awarded.

At that point, Hessenthaler made his last roll of the dice, throwing on powerhouse Ayo Obileye for Miley.

With five minutes of normal time remaining, Eastleigh so nearly got the lifeline they’d been searching for when Cresswell’s strike from the edge of the box was touched onto the bar and over.

But back came Boreham Wood to force a couple of smart saves from Stack.

First he clawed Andrade’s low cross clear before Ferrier could pounce and then saved with his foot at the near post after ex-Spitfire Jamie Turley had prodded a corner goalwards.

Back play went to the other end and this time Smith saved with his feet after Matthews had connected well with Sam Wood’s cross.

Eastleigh: Graham Stack, Gavin Hoyte, Sam Wood, Sam Togwell, Andrew Boyce (Mark Yeates, 68), Ryan Cresswell, Sam Matthews, Cav Miley (Ayo Obileye, 80), Ben Williamson, Chris Zebroski (James Constable, 71), Ryan Broom, Subs: Ayo Obileye, Danny Hollands, Frazer Shaw.

Referee: Savvas Yianni.

Attendance: 1,751