The Shots were the victims of a smash and grab raid at the ESS, as another strong performance failed to earn its just reward.
A scrambled effort from point-blank range right on half-time, followed by a second-half penalty, gave Eastleigh the victory despite Aldershot Town creating several excellent chances and having three strong penalty appeals waved away.
Forced to employ Sam Hatton at right-back, in the absence of Barker, Roberts and Tonkin, The Shots again overcame the adversity of injury to match their exalted opponents and dominate a second period which could easily have brought them level.
Stuart Fleetwood’s second-minute shot was deflected wide and Michael Green’s drive was rifled just past the post, but after a quiet start the hosts enjoyed a 20-minute spell where Molesley and Forbes went close, Hatton had a free-kick parried by Flitney and Holman nearly broke through twice in the same move.
Smith slid out to block Constable but that merely gave Reason the chance to hit a shot which was cleared by Wilson before his follow-up was curled over the open goal. Into injury-time, however, Fleetwood escaped down the right and slid a low cross into the six-yard box which McAllister bundled over the line despite Smith’s attempt to claw it away.
Constable’s impudent lob continued that momentum seconds after the break, but the second-half belonged to Aldershot Town in all but the one most crucial statistic. Diallo was again dynamic in midfield and fed Holman for a shot which was smothered, before heading Gibbs’ deep cross wide of goal.
Reason’s shot was parried, and Constable fired the loose ball into the side-netting, but the game hinged on three chances just after the hour. Constable’s glancing header hit the post, from a quickly-taken free-kick, but Diallo’s burst into the box, latching onto Molesley’s deft pass, should have brought the equaliser instead of Flitney making a block.
Seconds later, The Shots claimed that Diallo was fouled in the build-up to Eastleigh’s second goal. Green raced down the left to meet an astute ball inside Gibbs, and when his sliding challenge saw the cross hit an outstretched arm, Fleetwood rolled in a nonchalant penalty.
Immediately, Scott switched to a 4-3-3 formation, and first McCollin and then N’Guessan both made positive impacts from the bench. The former Kingstonain striker went down under pressure in the box as he met Williams’ measured cross, only for penalty appeals to be turned down, before N’Guessan had three shots which, respectively, were saved, wide of the far-post and blocked.
Williams ghosted into the penalty area and appeared to be tripped, but referee Hopkins remained implacable. Evans’ clumsy, stumbling chest-trap then sparked futile appeals for handball, and when Wilson volleyed over from six-yards, as Molesley’s corner dropped invitingly to him, the game was lost.