Eastleigh lost to London 3 South-West high-fliers KCS Old Boys – but did enough to prove that a promotion push of their own may not be far around the corner.
The 38-24 defeat at Bishopstoke Road showed promising Eastleigh can mix it with the best and battle on after falling behind.
Several Eastleigh errors was the only difference between the sides in the first half – which saw two yellow cards for KCS and one for Eastleigh’s Richard O’Donnell.
Eastleigh were trailing by 15 points at the break with Phillip Baldwin’s penalty, try and conversion making up their tally.
They went further behind to a penalty before winger Jack Curtis got on the end of a crossfield kick by Baldwin who converted the score.
KCS responded with a bonus point try but Eastleigh had the final say when Number 8 Paul Fudio touched down from a scrum and Baldwin, the Pipestock man of the match, added the extras.
Head coach Andy Boyes said: “We dominated the first half but three mistakes cost us dearly. “The second half was a much more even affair. I was really pleased how we had the resilience to keep coming back.
“KCS are a good side and took advantage of our mistakes. The boys will learn a lot from today’s game. “If we want to progress to SW2 in the coming seasons we need to play like this every week.”