Chesterfield 2 Eastleigh 3.

THERE was delight in Derbyshire for Ben Strevens’s Eastleigh this afternoon as they twice battled back from behind to edge a five-goal thriller at Chesterfield.

The resurgent Spireites had won five and drawn one of their previous eight National League games under new boss John Sheridan.

But they were undone by a never-say-die Spitfires side who brilliantly bounced back from last week’s home upset by Halifax to register their sixth victory in the last seven league games.

Joey Jones’ spectacular 83rd-minute winner keeps Eastleigh just a point outside the play-off zone in eighth spot with ten games to go.

Chris Zebroski had mustered the first chance for Eastleigh, cutting in from the left as early as the second minute, but he curled his effort wide of the far post.

That was as exciting as it got in the opening stages as a mainly midfield battle unfolded at the Proact Stadium.

The Spitfires' game began to pick up as the half-hour mark approached and Paul McCallum – voted National League player-of-the-month for February – slipped a pass through to Zebroski who poked his effort wide.

But, with 33 minutes on the clock, the visitors fell behind from a set-piece involving former Spitfires defender Will Evans.

Ellis Chapman lofted in a free-kick, Evans headed it across goal and Haydn HOLLIS was there to tap at the back post for 1-0.

Eastleigh responded positively and on 39 minutes Mark Yeates picked out McCallum with an inch-perfect cross which the targetman could only head wide.

But it was a different story on 43 minutes when aerial raider McCALLUM this time got his finish just right as he claimed his 22nd goal of a prolific campaign.

Zebroski supplied the cross and McCallum rose at the far post to head past former AFC Bournemouth ‘keeper Shwan Jalal in the Spireites goal.

That should have been the prelude to a confident start to the second half by Eastleigh and Yeates looked in the mood when he let fly from just inside the Chesterfield half, only for his audacious effort to dip wide.

But things went awry for the Spitfires just four minutes in when they fatally surrendered possession in a dangerous area.

Chapman needed no second invitation to deliver a low cross to the back stick where Scott BODEN was waiting to slot home and make it 2-1 to Chesterfield.

Once again, though, Eastleigh summoned up the right response and drew level for a second time on the hour through central defender Andrew Boyce.

Having taken a knock to the face from an initial corner, BOYCE bravely went up in a congested penalty area for Yeates’s follow-up flag kick and planted a downward header into the bottom corner for 2-2.

There were some worrying moments for the Spitfires when McCallum went down injured after rising for a header but Eastleigh’s man-of-the-moment continued after treatment.

Three minutes later the No9 found himself with a new frontline partner as Ben Williamson was sent on in place of Zebroski.

McCallum was then withdrawn on 82 minutes, making way for young Jack McKnight. But if the 100 travelling fans feared that signalled the end of the Eastleigh goal threat they had another thing coming!

Just seconds later Eastleigh were on the attack - with spectacular results.

Joey JONES picked up an Oscar Gobern pass in centre of the park, charged into space and let fly from distance to sensationally put the Spitfires ahead for the first time.

With five minutes of stoppage time added, the visitors had some late defending to do and on-loan AFC Bournemouth centre-back Shaun Hobson was sent on for his debut in place of Yeates.

But apart from the giant figure of Tom Denton sending a header over the Eastleigh bar from a Chapman corner, the Spitfires were rarely troubled as they held out for their fourth successive away victory.

Eastleigh: Luke Southwood, Josh Hare, Cav Miley, Andrew Boyce, Alex Wynter, Joey Jones, Oscar Gobern, Danny Hollands, Paul McCallum (Jack McKnight, 82), Chris Zebroski (Ben Williamson, 70), Mark Yeates (Shaun Hobson, 89). Subs (not used): Michael Green, Ollie Dennett.

Attendance: 4,319 (100 Eastleigh)