EASTLEIGH stumbled to their second Vanarama National League defeat in the space of four depressing days tonight – and it was a former Spitfire who inflicted the damage.

Jamie Collins’ 31st-minute penalty settled a low-key contest on the 3G at Gander Green Lane as Paul Doswell’s Sutton United grabbed a 1-0 victory in front of a 1,725 crowd.

With the exception of a Tom Bolarinwa shot that was saved chest-high by Spitfires’ keeper Graham Stack, there was nothing doing in opening half-hour.

After Saturday’s late collapse against Solihull Moors, Eastleigh defended solidly, but the pace of ex-Grimsby winger Bolarinwa proved their undoing when he was brought down by Josh Hare at the expense of a penalty.

Ex-Eastleigh man Collins had already struck from the spot this season, rescuing the Us a last-gasp point at Harrogate on Saturday.

And, once again, the 33-year-old was coolness personified as he sent Stack the wrong way from 12 yards.

The Spitfires responded with a few decent deliveries towards the end of the first half but Charlie Clough, who later picked up the man-of-the-match bubbly, was imperious in the Sutton defence.

Stack saved well from Dan Wishart early in the second half before a rare Eastleigh chance was headed wide by big centre-back Reda Johnson.

It needed an excellent block by another of Eastleigh’s defensive triumvirate, Andrew Boyce, to prevent another ex-Spitfire Ross Lafayette going through one-one-one as the Us continued to pose the bigger threat.

With Eastleigh boss Andy Hessenthaler turning to his bench, Chris Zebroski replaced Ben Williamson up top before Boyce and skipper Danny Hollands made way for Cav Miley and loan man George Dowling.

Miley hit a hopeful shot well wide and Dale Bennett flashed one off target for Sutton with the game still in the balance.

It wasn’t until stoppage time that Eastleigh mustered any real menace, and it was goalkeeper Stack who had their best chance of the match, throwing caution to the wind after Mark Yeates’ shot had been deflected behind for a corner.

As the delivery came in, Stack attacked the ball with a header that flew just wide.

Hessenthaler must now ponder how to get some creativity back into his side as they hit the road again to Barnet on Saturday.

The Bees fought for a 1-1 draw through Shaquile Coulthirst after falling behind to Braintree Town at The Hive this evening.

Newly-promoted Havant & Waterlooville – beaten 3-0 at Barrow on Saturday – drew their home opener 0-0 with Boreham Wood.

Eastleigh: Graham Stack, Josh Hare, Michael Green, Andrew Boyce (Cav Miley, 75), Reda Johnson, Alex Wynter, Oscar Gobern, Danny Hollands (George Dowling, 75), Paul McCallum, Ben Williamson (Chris Zebroski, 62), Mark Yeates. Subs (not used): Sam Wood, Joey Jones.

Attendance: 1,725