It's an early January trip to either Barnet or Newport County in the FA Cup third round for Eastleigh after the Spitfires' dramatic 2-1 stoppage time win over League One Reading - a thrilling victory from a blood and thunder affair, watched by a bumper 5,000-plus Silverlake Stadium crowd and millions watching on terrestrial television.

Paul McCallum's two goals won the day for Eastleigh. He opened the scoring midway through the first half when he slid home Scott Quigley's cross, but Femi Azeez looked to have earned a replay for the Royals with an equaliser four minutes from the end of normal time.

But 18-goal McCallum bundled home Eastleigh's winner deep into stoppage time to spark wild celebrations among the Spitfires' fans.

Reflecting on the cup triumph - beating Reading was arguably the shock result of the second round - McCallum said: "I thought we were brilliant in the first half. 

"We knew that in the second half Reading were going to come out and dominate the ball because they are a good team, and they have good players.

"Being on TV and everyone watching it added to the excitement of the occasion and luckily, I have scored two."

He continued: "A lot of teams could crumble at 1-1, they dominated the ball for the whole second half. When they score the goal, you see it often, the team comes back and goes and wins it 2-1 or 3-1.

"We have got senior players next to young players out here who can guide them through it. I thought everyone was brilliant in the last 15 minutes."

McCallum was quick to pay tribute to his team-mates for his 18-goal season so far. 

"Credit to them, they are putting it on a plate for me, it is a striker’s dream to play for this team. You’ve got (Chris) Maguire, Quigley, and Enzio (Boldewijn) who are all players that can beat people and put it in the box.

"I thrive off attacking balls in the box. Hopefully, my form will continue. I think that’s 18 in 18 now so hopefully it can be 46 in 46 at the end of the season."

In a first half dominated by Eastleigh, McCallum put the Spitfires ahead just minutes after Reading supporters had interrupted the game in protest against the owner.

Play was stopped in the 16th minute as hundreds of tennis balls rained onto the pitch from the 1,500 away fans in protest against owner Dai Yongge. 

Within three minutes of the restart, the Spitfires had put their noses in front. Ben Elliott lost possession and was beaten for pace and skill down the right flank by Enzio Boldewijn. 

Scott Quigley delivered a low ball across the box and McCallum was lingering with intent at the back post, stabbing the ball past Pereira.

The Spitfires had their tails up and Reading failed to create anything of note going forward. McCallum thought he had doubled the advantage with a header at the back post, but the linesman ruled his effort out as offside to spare the Royal blushes. 

It should have been out of sight in first half stoppage time as Quigley was fed through one-versus-one. Bearing down on goal, Joel Pereira stayed on his feet and managed to block the effort with an outstretched foot.

Reading boss Ruben Selles, who made eight changes to the Royals side that had beaten League One rivals Carlisle United 5-1 in midweek, changed his personnel. Reading grew into the game and forced Eastleigh to defend.

But it could have been game over within ten minutes of the restart as a dangerous cross found Quigley free at the back post and the Royals again relied on a big save from former Manchester United keeper Pereira.

From the hour mark onwards, it was predominantly Reading doing most of the attacking- to no avail, save Sam Smith wasting a golden opportunity from a point blank header. 

Eventually the pressure told and four minutes from the end of normal time, Femi Azeez arrowed a bending shot into the top corner from the edge of the box to make it 1-1.

The equaliser created a frantic closing 10 minutes of action in a blood-and-thunder cup clash.

Just as it looked as though the match would ebb out into a replay, Chris Maguire's corner caused havoc in the Reading box and McCallum stabbed home a 94th minute winner in the melee.

Eastleigh manager Richard Hill beamed: "This is up there with the best days at this football club for me. It's given us a bit of exposure, we've conducted ourselves professionally and shown people what we're about.

"I don't get emotional. People call me dour, people are telling me to smile - but that was big for this club.

"I thought we'd win. I was pleased to see the team Reading picked to start with and I purposely went with experience, knowing I'd have to change it at some point.

"When they've got (Lewis) Wing and (Sam) Smith on and they're absolutely peppering you, it's in the lap of the gods, but the lads were brilliant. They deserve all the credit."

Barnet and Newport County, who drew 1-1, replay their second round tie at The Hive on Tuesday evening, while Eastleigh's next match is an attractive FA Trophy third round tie against Aldershot Town at the Silverlake Stadium on Saturday, 3pm.

Eastleigh's thrilling FA Cup win over Reading would have coincided with the 100th birthday of co-founder and past president Derik Brooks, who died aged 94 in January 2018. He co-founded the club as Swaythling Athletic in 1946 and stayed involved for an incredible 72 years.