ASSISTANT boss Andy Hessenthaler feels Eastleigh can take “massive encouragement” from yesterday's FA Trophy performance at Ebbsfleet.

Although the Spitfires lost the first round tie 2-1, beaten by a heartbreaking Myles Weston goal in stoppage time, they gave as good as they got in the all-Vanarama National League clash.

Danny Kedwell put the hosts in front against the run of play in the 78th minute, but justice seemed to have been done when Cav Miley levelled with a header from Mark Yeates' teasing cross just two minutes later.

There was a nasty sting in the tail for the Spitfires, however, when Weston struck for Ebbsfleet three minutes into added time.

Excluding the Hampshire FA Senior Cup, it leaves Eastleigh without a win in their last eight league and cup games.

While describing Ebbsfleet’s winner as “a kick in the teeth” for the Hampshire visitors, Hessenthaler felt Eastleigh's all-round endeavour and commitment was pleasing.

“We can take massive encouragement from that. The boys have put a proper shift in," he said.

“It’s horrible not come away with anything, but that’s the nature of football, it can hurt you.

“But there are plenty of positives to take from the game because that was a top performance. There’s no way we should be down on ourselves this week when we know we can produce that.

“It’s cruel, but we’ll get back into training on Monday and be ready to go to Dagenham & Redbridge (in the league) on Saturday.”

The Daggers game is followed by back-to-back home fixtures against Torquay United on Boxing Day (3pm) and Woking on December 30 (3pm).

Ebbsfleet boss Daryl McMahon - a former Eastleigh midfielder and skipper - described yesterday's Trophy clash as a "bitty, rubbish game", but said: "We had moments of quality and we knew we had players who could produce a goal.

"It's good that we can take a replay out of the equation," he added.