MANAGER Richard Hill says the sooner Eastleigh can lift “the black cloud” hanging over the club, the better.

The Spitfires walked off to a chorus of boos from some of the 1,708 crowd at a gloomy Silverlake Stadium on Saturday.

The leaden grey November skies were matched by an equally depressing scoreline as Eastleigh were humbled 2-0 by a Barrow side who had arrived in Hampshire sitting in the bottom four without an away win to their name.

The Spitfires quickly faded after a bright start and slumped into arrears on 32 minutes when their hopeless attempts to clear the ball from inside the area were punished by a crisp left-footed intervention from Byron Harrison.

Both sides hit the woodwork – Adi Yussuf for Barrow and James Constable for Eastleigh – before the fit-again Graham Stack marked his return to the Spitfires’ goal with an outstanding save from Asa Hall’s point-blank header.

But, seconds later, the former Barnet stopper was helpless to react as Jimmy Dunne doubled the visitors’ advantage with a 20-yard screamer following a corner.

Eastleigh had countless chances to make amends in the last half-hour – the majority falling to top scorer Ben Williamson.

But, with Barrow’s Isle of Wight-born goalkeeper Stuart Moore – son of former Brading Town boss, Phil – determined to keep a clean sheet, Eastleigh were consigned to their seventh defeat of the season.

It leaves them down in 18th spot ahead of Tuesday's (7.45pm) Silverlake showdown against mid-table Maidenhead United.

While Hill questioned the fans for booing his side off the pitch, he did not attempt to camouflage the Spitfires’ failings.

“Defensively we’re not good, are we?” he said. “We’re actually giving teams goals at the moment.

“And when I say defensively, I don’t mean just the back four, I mean everybody.

“We’ve got some good players at this football club, without a doubt, and we just need to get this black cloud lifted some way, somehow.

“We need somebody who’s going to be commanding, take control and take responsibility in these situations and, at the moment, we haven’t got that.”

While Barrow ’keeper Moore performed heroics to deny Williamson, Mark Yeates and sub Ayo Obileye in the closing stages and the busy Sam Matthews came off the bench to force a goalline clearance, Hill wryly observed: “We’re a good team when we’re losing, aren’t we?

“We had some good play in the last 20 minutes and a couple of hard-luck chances, but every week I’m having to come out and say it’s too little, too late.”

New York loan signing Simon Heslop earned Hill’s approval in midfield but, at the age of 30, his arrival has not been welcomed by some sections of the fan base who want to see more youth and more pace in the side.

“It’s a crying shame in football that when you’re 30 years of age, you’re too old,” Hill lamented.

“I thought Simon did very well today. Towards the end you could see he’s a bit short of match fitness, but he’s come in and given us a bit of energy in there and he closes play down with the football.”

Having spoken of the need for everyone at the club – fans included – to pull together at a tough time, Hill was critical of those supporters who vented their frustrations at the final whistle.

“I’m not sure how productive it was to boo at the end of the game,” he shrugged.

“They pay their money and they’re entitled to their opinion and, if they think booing the players is productive, then so be it.

“They always point the finger at our performance, but I can pick out a few games this season where their performance wasn’t particularly good. But there you go.”

Eastleigh: Graham Stack, Gavin Hoyte, Frazer Shaw, Cavaghn Miley (Ayo Obileye, 84), Andrew Boyce, Callum Howe, Mark Yeates, Simon Heslop, Ben Williamson, James Constable (Sam Matthews, 63), Chris Zebroski (Paul McCallum, 63). Subs (not used) : Ross Flitney, Craig McAllister.

Referee: Simon Barrow.

Attendance: 1,708.