EASTLEIGH gave caretaker boss Ben Stevens’ job prospects another timely boost tonight by proving they can live with the best in the Vanarama National League.

Leyton Orient arrived at the Silverlake Stadium sitting top of the table – and returned to east London in third spot having been made to graft for a 1-1 draw.

Buoyed by Saturday’s excellent 1-0 win at Halifax, the Spitfires once again looked more like the side that had strung together a six-match unbeaten run under departed boss Andy Hessenthaler.

Aside from one lapse in concentration that cost them Orient’s equaliser, they defended manfully against a team who had torn Havant & Waterlooville apart 4-0 on Saturday.

Strevens was forced into an early substitution with Joey Jones replacing injured ex-Saint Oscar Gobern and there was relief two minutes later when Josh Koroma had a ‘goal’ disallowed for offside.

But Eastleigh soon settled and kept their wits about them to deal with a string of dangerous deliveries into the box.

On 35 minutes, it was the home side who went ahead as fit-again right-back Josh Hare claimed his second goal in as many games.

Mark Yeates was again the provider, whipping in a corner from the left-hand side and, just as he did at Halifax, Hare attacked the ball with a firm header that beat Dean Brill in the Os’ goal.

The Spitfires could well have doubled that lead on the hour, but Jones stabbed the ball wide from Hare’s dangerous cross.

Five minutes later Orient were back in the game after Eastleigh had carelessly surrendered possession - Myles Judd delivering a low cross which was cutely flicked in by Macauley Bonne for 1-1, his 12th goal of the season.

Bonne almost did more damage from a James Dayton corner but sent a free header over and it needed a fantastic show of resistance from Alex Wynter and goalkeeper Max Stryjek to deny sub Matt Harrold and Bonne with six minutes to go.

Afterwards Strevens reflected: “Leyton Orient are top of the league for a reason and we defended really well. I’m just disappointed with the goal we gave them.”

Eastleigh will need another assured performance this Saturday when new leaders Salford City – 3-1 winners at Barnet – are next in at the Silverlake.

Eastleigh: Max Stryjek, Josh Hare, Michael Green, Danny Hollands, Andrew Boyce, Alex Wynter, Cav Miley (Chris Zebroski, 85), Oscar Gobern (Joey Jones, 6), Paul McCallum, Ben Williamson, Mark Yeates. Subs (not used): Ross Flitney, Ollie Dennett, Tom Bearwish.

Referee: James Oldham.

Attendance: 1,938.