Eastleigh lose 2-1 away to Hartlepool

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Sam Smart scored an equaliser but it wasn’t enough

Hartlepool secured their first win in four National League games with victory over Ben Strevens’ Eastleigh.

The home side – without top scorer Gime Toure, who started a three-match ban after accepting a retrospective charge of violent conduct following the FA Cup third-round defeat at Oxford – were forced into an early change when defender Michael Raynes went off injured and Fraser Kerr came on.

Hartlepool took the lead in the 51st minute as Gavan Holohan tapped in a cross from Ryan Donaldson. The Spitfires, though, hit straight back when Sam Smart crashed in a volley for his first National League goal.

Nicke Kabamba saw a header cleared off the line before the hosts did regain the lead after 67 minutes when Mark Kitching’s cutback from the left was tucked away by Mark Shelton.

Pools midfielder Gus Mafuta rattled the crossbar, before substitute Kerr was then himself forced then off by injury during the closing stages.

The Spitfires take on Matlock Town in the FA Trophy Second Round on Saturday at The Silverlake Stadium.