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SPITFIRES boss Lee Bradbury was impressed with the “endeavour” his charges showed as they came from behind three times to secure a 4-4 draw with play-off bound Grimsby.
In a game that could have been dubbed a dead rubber prior to kick-off due to both sides secure in their league positions, there was plenty of excitement as Eastleigh battled back from a two-goal deficit at the break.
Jordan Maguire-Drew and Mani Dieseruvwe had given the Mariners a 2-0 lead at the break, but half-time substitutes Danny Whitehall and Sam Smart made quick work of restoring parity, bagging two goals in just eight second-half minutes.
The goals kept flowing as Diesreuvwe put Grimsby back in front on the hour mark, before former Saint Jake Hesketh once again pegged the away side back.
Diesreuvwe completed his hat-trick with five minutes remaining, but a handball in the Grimsby box gave Eastleigh a chance in the 90th minute to have the final say, with Tyrone Barnett stepping up to fire home the spot-kick.
Reflecting on the game, Bradbury told the Daily Echo: “I think both teams made a lot of changes and they've rested a few.
“Rightly so - they've got a big play-off game coming up. I’ve given the youth a chance today - I had no choice, really.
“We have seven or eight in the treatment room, first team players that normally would be in the squad, if not playing.
“We dealt with it well. First-half we were a little bit off the pace.
“The young lads got a taste of what it is like to play against league players that have dropped down last year.
“Paul Hurst has done a good job there. I think they'll be tough to beat in the playoffs.
“But I was really pleased with the second half performance.
“I thought players came out with much more endeavour, much more aggression with the ball and without the ball, and we gave them a few problems.
“So, I’m, pleased with the second half performance, certainly.”