Chris Maguire's controversial late penalty equaliser against Hartlepool United and the barnstorming finish that followed has boosted Eastleigh's confidence ahead of a crucial Easter weekend double.

The 1-1 draw with Pools earned Eastleigh their first point in three outings and kept them three clear of the drop zone in what is becoming an increasingly congested bottom half of the table.

Only five points separate Fylde in 13th place and Boreham Wood, who now occupy the fourth and last relegation spot, writes Mike Vimpany.

It's those last two drop spots Eastleigh need to avoid. Oxford City are already relegated and Dorking Wanderers, with four defeats in their last five outings, appear in downfall.
Spitfires, in 18th spot, still have to play Kidderminster Harriers and York City away - and, significantly, Maidenhead United (two points behind them) at the Silverlake Stadium on Easter Monday.  That really is a six-pointer!

Before that on Good Friday, Eastleigh go to Woking, who have hauled themselves out of the danger zone with a recent 14-point haul.  A Spitfires win at Kingsfield might be viewed as a bonus.

Eastleigh boss Kelvin Davis believes the point against Hartlepool could be crucial with the Spitfires three points above the relegation places.

He said: "Obviously, you want to win your home games but at this stage of the season and where we are, every point is important. This may be another massive point for us."

In the end Hartlepool United were left hanging on for a draw, having led for an hour through Joe Gray.

They looked as though they might cling on to the win points - but the game turned on a 73rd minute handball decision by referee Aaron Jackson which left Pools coach and former Saints striker Kevin Phillips fuming.

Defender Nicky Featherstone was adjudged to have handled a rising shot from Maguire, who drilled his resulting penalty kick low to Pete Jameson's right and into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

"How the referee has given a penalty I do not know," Phillips fumed. "I've watched the incident back and Nicky's trying to protect his face from a shot which Maguire has smashed at him from ten yards. It was was going over the bar in any case."

Maguire's equaliser left Pools to ride out a frenetic last quarter when goalkeeper Jameson, on loan from Harrogate and only recently restored to the side after injury, produced a string of fine saves.

Just before the penalty he pulled off a superb save to deny hot shot Paul McCallum and, after that, he prevented two or three seemingly certain goals, none more so than to thwart substitute Ezzio Boldewijn in the last of seven minutes of added time, when Spitfires also hit the post.

"I think we expect more. We potentially deserved more," Davis added.

"Obviously Hartlepool United scored a goal that was defendable. There were two very good chances where their goalkeeper made two high-level saves.

"The lads responded well, simplified it a bit and got on top of Hartlepool in the second half. I felt (after Maguire's goal) we were the team in the ascendancy and looked more likely to win the game."