PAUL McCallum finally broke his Eastleigh scoring duck with a glorious hat-trick on Saturday – yet it was only good enough for a share of the Vanarama National League spoils.

In arguably the most absorbing game witnessed at the Silverlake all season, the Spitfires contrived to go 2-0 up against play-off contenders Bromley, fall 3-2 and 4-3 into arrears and finally pull a 4-4 draw out of the bag thanks to an exquisite late leveller from sub Sam Matthews.

“There’s been times when I’ve been accused of not entertaining people, but today we have – both teams,” said Spitfires boss Richard Hill.

“It was one of those crazy, crazy games you get two or three times a season.

“But today you’ve seen two teams that need to defend better. Most definitely my team need to defend better," he stressed.

“We’ve had to score four goals to draw a game of football at home.”

When Eastleigh signed McCallum from Leyton Orient in the summer, they knew he had goals in him, but ongoing injury woes have restricted the big striker to just ten appearances.

But paired with powerhouse Chris Zebroski up front, the 24-year-old proved too hot for Bromley’s defence to handle in the opening 20 minutes as he fired the Spitfires 2-0 up.

After Josh Rees’s 27th-minute header had pulled the Ravens back into it, the introduction of ex-Eastleigh frontman Brett Williams transformed the visitors’ fortunes.

Williams himself levelled matters on 37 minutes and, five minutes into the second half, the outstanding Louis Dennis turned the game on its head with a stroke of genius.

The plot thickened when McCallum completed his hat-trick, heading in off the underside of the bar following a Bradley Hudson-Odoi corner, but back came Dennis to score what appeared to be the winning goal with 87 minutes gone.

AFC Bournemouth loanee Matthews had other ideas, though, curling in a stunner 60 seconds later to finally stop the rollercoaster in its tracks.

“For the first 25 minutes, we probably played as well as we have all season and there were spells in the second half when we played some decent, flowing football, but we can’t defend like that,” said Hill.

“Brett (Williams) has come on and changed the game, but we were always going to face a bit of an onslaught from them and we didn’t handle it well enough, we really didn’t.

“But then give us a bit of credit for fighting back twice.”

Eastleigh edged up a place to 18th but are now just five points clear of the drop zone.

EASTLEIGH: Graham Stack, Gavin Hoyte, Sam Wood (Sam Matthews, 82), Danny Hollands, Andrew Boyce, Callum Howe, Cavaghn Miley, Simon Heslop, Paul McCallum (Craig McAllister, 85) , Chris Zebroski, Bradley Hudson-Odoi (Mark Yeates, 70). Subs (not used): James Constable, Harvey Read.

Referee: Sam Allison.

Attendance: 1,751.