By Rory Drake
Gateshead were made to rue missed chances as Josh Hare’s strike helped Eastleigh to victory at the International Stadium.
After an uneventful first half, Gateshead started to look dangerous after the break. The hosts hit the woodwork twice through Robbie Tinkler but were unable to beat Max Stryjek.
With just over 10 minutes to play, Hare broke the deadlock for the Spitfires who held out to claim the win.
Chris Zebroski had the chance to put the visitors ahead on 14 minutes but saw a rather tame header saved by Aynsley Pears.
Eastleigh came close again moments later with Josh Hare’s cross bouncing off Zebroski and falling nicely for Cavaghn Miley, whose headed effort was easily dealt with by Pears.
Gateshead were quickly down the other end with Luke Molyneux running half the length of the pitch before laying the ball off to Scott Boden whose shot was straight at Max Stryjek.
Eastleigh were having the better of the play, but neither team were creating many chances.
Gateshead improved as the half went on and came close on 33 minutes when Robbie Tinkler played a ball into the box, Greg Olley fired back across the face of goal but Styjek pounced to deny Boden.
Tinkler was involved again, shortly before half time with a lofted pass for Steve Rigg to chase, but Stryjek beat the striker to the ball.
Gateshead had a strong claim for a penalty in the 52nd minute when Reda Johnson felled Rigg in the box but were left perplexed when nothing was given.
The next opening came for Eastleigh, Michael Green on the left-hand side fired an effort but failed to find the target.
The second half had taken a similar pattern to the first, but with 20 minutes to go Gateshead started to look dangerous. Molyneux fired a low effort but couldn’t beat Stryjek.
Tinkler then hit the woodwork twice in a matter of minutes, first firing a shot from 20-yards off the bar before clipping the post following a corner.
Eastleigh took the lead in the 77th minute when Hare went forward and fired a low shot which beat Pears with the help of the post.
Gateshead came close to rescuing a point late on, when a skirmish in the box saw Boden, Cameron Salkeld and Frazer Kerr all try their luck from inside the box, but Eastleigh had men back to block.
Gateshead XI: Pears; Tinkler, Kerr, Mike Williamson, Mellish, Barrow © (Salkeld 79); Olley, Molyneux, White; Rigg, Boden
Subs not used: Foden, Hunter, Forbes, Devitt
Bookings: White (75)
Eastleigh: Stryjek, Hare, Wynter, Boyce, Johnson ©, Green, Gobern (McCallum 61’), Yeates (Constable 88’), Payne, Miley, Zebroski (Ben Williamson 69’)
Subs not used: Flitney, Dennett
Goals: Hare (77)
Referee: Josh Scott
Attendance: 655 (18 Eastleigh)
MOTM: Robbie Tinkler