PIERCE Bird went from villain to hero as Eastleigh came from behind to knock Saints B out of the Hampshire Senior Cup.

Bird's foul allowed Enzo Robise to put a young Saints side ahead via a first-half penalty at Silverlake Stadium.

However, Bird, a Northern Ireland under-21 international, then headed in the late leveller, before also netting the winning spot-kick as Eastleigh triumphed 4-2 on penalties to move into the final.

They will face AFC Bournemouth's under-21s for the trophy, with a date to be confirmed.

Tom Blair missed the clearest early opening for the hosts, denied by goalkeeper Tommy Scott.

Beni Smales-Braithwaite and Tyreke Johnson both came close to a leveller for Saints, but goalkeeper Ross Flitney kept them at bay.

Flitney had defender Bird to thank shortly afterwards for a big block on the line after the keeper had fumbled another Smales-Braithwaite effort.

Just before half-time, the deadlock was broken.

Bird was penalised for tripping Ramello Mitchell in the box, allowing substitute Robise to fire high past Flitney from 12 yards.

Flitney did well to deny Lucas Defise after the restart, and the Spitfires levelled up the contest with little over 10 minutes to play.

Ryan Hill's free-kick from the right was whipped in to Bird, who soared highest to plant home his header.

Eastleigh almost completed a turnaround soon after with Tom Bearwish's shot deflected wide off Pascal Kpohomouh, as the game headed to penalties.

Kazeem Olaigbe and Hill found the net, before veteran Flitney gave the hosts the early advantage, brilliantly saving from Caleb Watts.

Luke Hooper and Bearwish made no mistake for Eastleigh, either side of Saints skipper Kpohomouh dragging his effort wide.

Johnson netted to give Saints hope, but that was shattered when Bird slotted in to secure the shootout success.

Eastleigh: Flitney, Baughan, Scorey, Bird, Torniainen, Carruthers (Bradshaw, 12), Bearwish, Andrew-Knott (Gray, 83), Blair, Hill, Hooper.

Saints: Scott, Keogh (Tchaptchet, 52), Kpohomouh, Ledwidge, Morris, Defise (Olaigbe, 70), Watts, Chauke, Johnson, Mitchell, Smales-Braithwaite (Robise, 23).