Eastleigh 3 Sutton Utd 2.

EASTLEIGH made it three home wins on the bounce in the Vanarama National at the expense of former boss Paul Doswell.

Twice the Spitfires were pegged back after taking the lead against sixth-placed Sutton United, but a brilliant late header from Ben Williamson banked them all three points in a rollercoaster 3-2 victory.

Left wing-back Michael Green returned to the Spitfires' line-up after a three-match suspension, picking up the man-of-the-match award for good measure, and skipper Danny Hollands came back in, with Cav Miley and Oscar Gobern dropping to the bench.

Two former Eastleigh players featured in the Sutton line-up with Dean Beckwith at centre-back and Brett Williams sharing attacking duties with Gime Toure.

There was no action of note until the eighth minute when Dale Bennett’s dangerous whipped-in cross from the right for Sutton was turned behind for a corner.

Nothing came of the flag-kick, but it was a different story at the other end when good battling by Paul McCallum, off Ben Williamson’s lay-off, saw the big No9 force a ninth-minute corner off Nicky Bailey.

Mark Yeates aimed his delivery towards Williamson at the near post and, when the ball was cleared back to him, he made ground into the area. His next cross took a looping deflection to the back stick where Aswad Thomas headed it off the line and it fell nicely for centre-back ANDREW BOYCE to bury from two yards.

But for an amazing save by Sutton keeper Ross Worner, the Spitfires would have doubled their advantage two minutes later following a delicious Green cross from the left. It found McCallum’s outstretched boot but, from point-blank range, Worner managed to flip the ball over the bar.

Sutton's first sight at goal arrived on 20 minutes after Eastleigh right wing-back Josh Hare had been booked for a foul on Toure some 25 yards out. Kenny Davis’s free-kick only just cleared the Eastleigh crossbar.

On 23 minutes Green sent in another peach of a cross, again in search of McCallum, and this time the targetman, closely marked by Davis, headed wide.

Mark Yeates then unleashed an angled shot which came off defender Thomas’s head on its way over as Eastleigh continued to call the tune.

But, on 27 minutes, there was danger at the other end when Eastleigh’s on-loan goalkeeper Luke Southwood came hurtling out of his area to close down Williams. The ex-Winchester City and AFC Totton striker nicked it past him, but the ball rolled wide.

Suddenly it was Eastleigh who had defending to do as Toure’s long-range effort went wide of Southwood’s left-hand post and Beckwith’s header from debutant James Dobson’s corner met the same fate.

But the team in yellow kept flooding forward and finally got their reward in the 43rd minute courtesy of TOURE.

Latching onto a long ball forward, he carried it into the box where Southwood got the slightest of touches, but not enough to put him off his stride. Reda Johnson might have cleared but appeared to lose his footing and Toure gleefully rolled the ball into the open net for 1-1.

Just before the half-time whistle Green, a real attacking livewire for Eastleigh, embarked on another enterprising run which ended with Worner pushing away his shot low. Yeates delivered the corner which McCallum headed over.

Half-time: Eastleigh 1 Sutton 1.

Recognising Green’s threat, Sutton switched the experienced Bailey from left-back to right-back after the break to try and combat it.

Southwood took a safety-first approach, scooping the ball away for a corner as Dobson unleashed a speculative shot from 25 yards.

Back came Eastleigh with an intense spell of pressure which saw Alex Wynter denied by another smart save from Worner and Yeates pull the trigger from distance, only for the ball to deflect wide off an Eastleigh player.

But the Spitfires continued to swarm all over their visitors and finally their pressure paid off on 61 minutes when JOSH HARE went scampering along the right by-line and, from the most acute of angles, drove the ball across the keeper and into the far corner.

With four wins from their last five league games, Sutton were not about to throw in the towel, however.

Just five minutes later the Us were back on terms through, of all people, Eastleigh old boy Williams.

Harry Beautyman’s delivery was flicked on by Dobson and WILLIAMS guided the ball home with a glancing header from ten yards.

2-2. Game on.

After Hollands had been booked for a foul on Craig Eastmond, Dobson’s free-kick deflected off the wall for a Sutton corner.

But the pendulum then swung back Eastleigh’s way with Yeates drawing another save from Worner before forcing a corner at the other end.

By now Eastleigh had withdrawn McCallum and thrown on Chris Zebroski, while Sutton made three substitutions over the course of four long drawn-out minutes – the third of whom, Bradley Pearce, immediately earned himself a yellow card for jumping the gun and entering the field of play without permission.

At that point it looked as if the game would peter out into a draw, but Eastleigh had other ideas.

With 88 minutes gone, a raking cross from the right by Hare was met by a superb diving header by WILLIAMSON who threw himself in front of Warner to put Eastleigh back into the lead for a third and final time.

Tempers flared in five tense added minutes, but the Spitfires comfortably held out for three cracking points to stay tenth in the table, three points off the play-offs.

Eastleigh: Luke Southwood, Josh Hare, Michael Green, Alex Wynter, Andrew Boyce, Reda Johnson, Joey Jones, Danny Hollands, Paul McCallum (Chris Zebroski, 75), Ben Williamson (Jack McKnight, 90), Mark Yeates (Oscar Gobern, 90). Subs (not used): Cav Miley, Tom Bearwish.

Referee: James Oldham.

Attendance: 1,872