Macclesfield Town suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to play-off rivals Eastleigh at the Moss Rose, despite the Silkmen controlling the majority of play.
Two goals from striker, James Constable, either side of Tony Diagne’s first half leveller was enough to give the Spitfires the points on their travels.
The result saw Macc drop to ninth in the National League table, whilst Eastleigh move up to fourth, however John Askey’s side are still hot on heels of the play-off spots as they sit just four points off the pace.
Constable opened the scoring in the sixth minute for the visitors as Andy Drury slotted the ball through the Macc defence and the forward found himself in acres of space before he guided it past Shwan Jalal.
However, it was just two minutes later when the Silkmen got themselves back in the game, Paul Turnbull’s corner was met by Diagne who saw his bullet header go in off the post.
The captain nearly provided again from another corner in the 16th minute, he whipped the ball out to the edge of the box and it was George Pilkington who forced Ross Flitney into a brilliant save from his sweetly struck volley.
With half an hour played both Dan Cowan and Lee Cook went into the ref’s book, Cowan won the ball with a perfectly timed tackle but Cook’s reaction to the challenge saw Adrian Holmes show a yellow card to both men.
Turnbull then came close with a thunderous volley on the half turn from 12 yards out, Chris Holroyd delivered a superb cross into the box to pick out the midfielder, but his strike went inches wide of the post.
Constable then threatened from close range just before the half time whistle, he controlled the ball in the box but Pilkington was on hand to block the forward’s effort and the Spitfires couldn’t produce anything from the resulting corner.
The first half came to a close with the score level at 1-1, Macclesfield had enjoyed the best chances in the opening 45 minutes and were unlucky not to have headed into the break in front.
Macc started the second half on the front foot, Danny Rowe beat his marker and found Holroyd running into the box, but the winger’s driven shot drifted just past the far post.
Eastleigh’s goalscorer, Constable, then put the Spitfires back in the lead on the hour mark, the ball ricocheted off the post and the frontman was first to react in the box as he fumbled in the rebound.
From then on Macclesfield were retaining possession well but were unable to carve out a decent chance until the 80th minute when panic struck in the Eastleigh box, Jack Sampson forced the keeper into a mistake but the defence was able to clear their lines.
Sampson then got on the end of Halls’ lofted pass and released Rowe into the box with a cushioned header, however Rowe’s shot was dealt with calmly by Flitney.
Askey’s side continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, but that allowed the away side to pounce on the counter attack and it was Josh Payne who took that opportunity in the 86th minute, but Jalal was equal to his dipping shot from 25 yards.
Macc were unable to breakthrough in the dying moments as the full time whistle blew and Eastleigh came away with a 2-1 win. Up next for the Silkmen is a home tie against Ashton United in the FA Trophy this Saturday.
Macclesfield Town: Jalal, Cowan (Halls 75), Pilkington, Diagne, Fitzpatrick, Holroyd, Turnbull, Whitaker, Lewis, Rowe, Sampson
Subs not used: Branagan, Churchman, Styche
Eastleigh: Flitney, Partington, Green, Evans, Payne, Constable, Reason, Midson (Odubade 70), Cook (Strevens 90), Drury, Atkinson
Subs not used: Lafayette, Poke, Fanimo
Today's attendance: 1087