Two late goals from top scorer Staforde Palmer could not gloss over a poor United performance as the Spitfires moved through us like a hot knife through butter at times and then skipper Nevin Saroya was dismissed for an unnecessary scything tackle in stoppage time.
The game could not have started any worse for United who found themselves in arrears after just four minutes. Chris Piper was given space on the left and he crossed to the unmarked Andy Forbes who planted his header past the recalled Kevin Davies who had replaced the injured Delroy Preddie.
United took a while to get much going in the forwards department with the only early effort seeing a run into the area by Palmer who laid the ball back to James Mulley, his effort was blocked out to Will Hendry who was too high from 20 yards.
On 20 minutes United thought they had earned a penalty when Palmer appeared to be manhandled in the area and the whistle blew, sadly though referee Mr Rock penalised Palmer! By the time the home side created another opening the Spitfires had trebled their lead to 3-0. Referee Rock awarded a mystery free-kick to the visitors and when the kick was angled into the box, Forbes again rose highest and planted a header just inside Davies near post.
The next was not long coming either, virtually straight from the restart Damian Scannell found space on the left and when his cross was deflected into the path of Piper he confidently fired into the roof of the net giving Davies no chance.
Ten minutes before the break Spitfires keeper James Pullen twice denied United a goal, firstly he had to react quickly when a Danny Allen-Page cross eluded Palmer and Kieran Knight before be sent goalwards by the knee of his own defender Andy Harris and then Palmer tried an overhead effort from an Allen-Page cross only for Pullen to tip his effort over the crossbar.
With a third of the second period played and United showing no signs of getting back into the game an error by Davies gifted a fourth to Eastleigh. A mis-hit free-kick from his own six yard box was cut out by Scannell who took the ball forwards before firing into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
Despite already being four ahead the Spitfires clearly wanted more, Scannell outstripped Tom Cadmore on the left side before chipping to the far post where Forbes delicately volleyed back across goal to Matt Hann but at full stretch he could not guide the ball goalwards.
Garry Haylock then threw Josh Scott into the action as continues his battle back to fitness, it was however in the unaccustomed position of central midfield as opposed to his usual striking role.
Still the visitors pressed, Davies held a shot from Piper before the next attack saw the ever dangerous Forbes given all the space in the world to run at Davies, his shot beat the United keeper only to come back into play off the inside of the post and when the ball was returned to the centre Davies was well placed to save from Piper.
Palmer had a shot saved by Pullen after good link up play from Steve Perkins and Knight before a five minute brace gave the scoreline a little more respectability. Scott picked up the ball on the left and advanced towards the Spitfires area before crossing low to Palmer who controlled the ball and fired past Pullen on the turn. Just five minutes later a cross from another substitute Michael Barima, this time from the right allowed Palmer to nip in and fire home his second from close range.
Two further efforts came, one from each side. Firstly Palmer was denied a hat-trick when his deflected shot was held by Pullen and at the other end a Karim El-Salahi free-kick was headed down to Paul Sales by Forbes and the substitute forced a fine save from Davies who pushed his effort over the bar.
United's miserable afternoon was compounded in stoppage time when a scything tackle in midfield by skipper Saroya saw Mr Rock produce a second yellow card and dismiss the United man.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Ray Peploe.