EASTLEIGH’s promotion destiny is in their own hands after what could prove a defining night in the Skrill South title race.
The Spitfires closed the gap on Bromley to just two points, with two games still in hand, by beating Chelmsford City 1-0 while the leaders crashed to a 4-0 defeat at home to Dover Athletic.
Winger Reece Connolly made up for his sending off in Saturday’s defeat against Concord Rangers by heading the only goal in the 43rd minute as Eastleigh returned to winning ways while Bromley suffered a third successive defeat.
The scoreline flattered Chelmsford, who beat Bromley at the weekend but hardly threatened goalkeeper Ross Flitney.
Eastleigh twice hit the crossbar, Chris Dillon the first to do so with a powerful header from a corner, before Connolly forced a diving Carl Pentney into a good save.
Right-back Dan Spence and No 10 Ben Wright narrowly missed the target with thunderous efforts and Stuart Fleetwood hit the sidenetting after slaloming down the inside left channel before providing the corner from which Connolly headed the winner.
Eastleigh dominated throughout in front of a disappointingly low crowd of 552.
Pentney was alert to Strevens’ header at the start of the second half and tipped over two fearsome strikes from the excellent Fleetwood.
Ben Strevens rattled the bar with a venomous header from a Michael Green corner and only over elaboration denied them a second when Yemi Odubade threatened soon after replacing the goalscorer.
Green took the direct approach from a free-kick near the Chelmsford goal-line, Pentney palming another powerful strike on to his near post, before Glen Southam had a shot blocked on the six-yard line.
But with Eastleigh still only leading by only the slenderest of margins, there was relief when Flitney saved at the feet of Leon Redwood in injury time and delight when it was announced Bromley had conceded four goals for the second time in as many home games.
Eastleigh: Flitney; Spence, Dillon, Beckwith, Green; Connolly (Odubade 72), Strevens, Southam, Fleetwood; McAllister, Wright. Subs: Noice (gk), Bulpitt, Wilson, Todd.