Ten-man FC Halifax Town were knocked out of the FA Cup by Eastleigh after a 2-0 defeat at The Shay.
Two goals in three minutes just before half-time from Scott Wilson and Mikael Mandron - who both scored in the 3-3 draw nine days ago - put clear daylight between the teams and sent Eastleigh on the way to Brentford in round three.
There hadn’t been much to separate the sides before those two goals, but Town never really threatened to launch a similar comeback to the one they mounted on the south coast.
The hosts, who are now without a win in five games, had spurts of promising play, but there was no repeat of that effervescent display in victory over Dagenham and Redbridge in the last round.
Richard Peniket and Matty Kosylo replaced Josh Macdonald and Alex Simmons on the flanks from the first game, with Macdonald not starting for the first time this season.
Jordan Sinnott, so instrumental in Town’s turnaround from 1-0 down to 3-1 up at Eastleigh, was the brightest player from the off, pinging balls 60 yards across the pitch and making some probing runs towards the visitors’ defence.
But the match didn’t exactly start as the first one finished, with the first effort of note coming 18 minutes in when Luke Coulson curled a shot way wide after cutting in from the left.
Other than that, the excitement was negligible; was Brentford away really such an unappealing prospect?
Almost immediately afterwards, Steve Drench’s long kick sent Matty Kosylo one-on-one with left-back Mike Green, and after the Town winger had shimmied past him, his low shot was well saved by Ryan Huddart.
The game gradually came to life though as Liam King’s wayward cross set Eastleigh off on a rapid counter-attack that ended with Joe Partington hitting the post after some desperate defending.
Moments later, Partington produced a crude tackle on Sinnott, which forced the Town midfielder off; how’s your luck Halifax?
The game looked to be meandering towards half-time until James Constable’s low cross from the right was tapped in at the far post by the criminally unmarked Scott Wilson.
Eastleigh then doubled their lead in controversial circumstances when Josh Macdonald was deemed to have fouled Coulson by referee Richard Clark, despite appearing to win the ball, with Mandron sending Drench the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Clark was duly booed off and back on at half-time.
If Halifax wanted that place in round three, they were going to have to earn it.
They at least started the second-half in the right vein, with Peniket’s shot cleared just in front of the line by Reda Johnson, before a Halifax penalty claim was waved away when, ironically, Macdonald’s shot was alleged to have hit an Eastleigh hand.
But the hosts din’t build on that early momentum, with attacks breaking down too easily, or not being cute enough to break through the Eastleigh defence, with the creativity and finesse of Sinnott badly missing.
There were echoes of Town’s last home outing against Matlock as they looked flat and lacked a cutting edge going forward.
With the game petering out badly, Scott Garner let his frustrations get the better of him by shoving Jai Reason and being dismissed with five minutes left.
Nathan Hotte prevented Partington notching a third with a goal-line clearance after his dinked shot over Drench before the keeper reacted brilliantly to keep out shots from Ryan Bird and James Constable as Eastleigh threatened to run riot.
Halifax: Drench, Moyo, Hotte, Garner, Wilde, Kosylo (Simmons 60), Lynch, King (Hibbs 70), Sinnott (Macdonald 33), Peniket, Denton. Subs not used: Nicholson, Hone, Barrows, Khan.
Shots on target: 5
Shots off target: 1
Eastleigh: Huddart, Pipe, Johnson, Essam, Green, Partington, Reason, Wilson (Dugdale 65), Coulson (Obileye 77), Constable, Mandron (Bird 59). Subs not used: Whittington, Bearwish.
Scorer: Wilson (43), Mandron (45)
Shots on target: 5
Shots off target: 5
Town man of the match: Steve Drench
Referee: Richard Clark