IT was the day of the defender as Eastleigh underscored their Vanarama National League play-off credentials with a last-gasp 1-0 victory at Bromley.

Andrew Boyce nodded Mark Yeates’ cross over the line as the Spitfires bagged an 88th-minute winner for a second week running.

But Boyce was not the only member of Eastleigh’s central defensive triumvirate to have a major say in sealing the club’s first away success since the end of November.

With 75 minutes gone and Bromley in the second-half ascendancy, Alex Wynter produced a breathtakingly good block, flying in out of nowhere to dispossess George Porter just as he was about to pull the trigger.

It ensured Reading loanee goalkeeper Luke Southwood kept his first clean sheet in an Eastleigh shirt and elevated the Spitfires to eighth, just a point off Harrogate who occupy the last of the play-offs spots.

The Spitfires’ rearguard solidity was a marked improvement on their previous two away trips which had seen them concede a total of seven goals at Ebbsfleet and Solihull.

Recognising the efforts of Wynter, Boyce and Reda Johnson, Eastleigh play-maker Yeates told BBC Radio Solent: “The boys at the back deserve a lot of credit. Wynt’s has made an unbelievable block which was match-changing really.

“We always know we’ve got a goal in us if we stay in games.”

Eastleigh’s winner was initially awarded to Yeates himself by the stadium announcer, but the Irishman was happy to let Boyce take the plaudits.

“Boycey said he got his head to it (Yeates’s inswinging cross) on the line. He’s my mate and he doesn’t score many, so I’ll let him have it!” he laughed.

Traditionally games between Eastleigh and Bromley are high-scoring, but this was an altogether cagier affair.

The Spitfires had the first-half edge, with Yeates testing Ravens’ keeper David Gregory with a curling effort from distance and Chris Zebroski – in for injured top scorer Paul McCallum – heading Yeates’s cross wide.

Bromley upped their efforts after the break but, Wynter’s crucial intervention apart, the Spitfires were rarely threatened by an improving Ravens side who had won their previous four home league games.

Bromley boss Neil Smith, who had winger Adam Mekki stretchered off in the second half with an ankle problem, admitted: “Some of our possession play was good, but I’m disappointed to come away with a loss. We didn’t test the keeper enough and lacked an end product.”

With next Saturday's scheduled home game against Barnet postponed due to the Bees’ FA Trophy involvement, Eastleigh have a fortnight’s rest before making the short trip to Aldershot Town on February 9.

Eastleigh: Luke Southwood, Josh Hare, Michael Green, Alex Wynter, Andrew Boyce, Reda Johnson, Joey Jones, Danny Hollands, Chris Zebroski (Oscar Gobern, 70), Ben Williamson, Mark Yeates (Cav Miley, 90). Subs (not used): Ben Scorey, Tom Bearwish, Jack McKnight.

Referee: Josh Smith.

Attendance: 1,381 (61 from Eastleigh).