WREXHAM suffered more play-off heartbreak as Eastleigh ended the Reds’ promotion dreams.

A stunning extra-time strike by Spitfires captain Danny Hollands condemned Bryan Hughes’ side to a 1-0 defeat in their eliminator showdown at The Racecourse.

Wrexham, who secured a play-off spot for the first time in six seasons, have made progress and have had a good season but they came up short when it mattered most.

It was the fourth time in 11 campaigns that the Reds have been beaten in the end of season knock-out, and Hughes will now be preparing for an 12th term in the fifth tier.

There was a lack of clear cut chances in an end to end first half with Wrexham lacking creativity when they reached the final third.

But Wrexham stepped up a gear after the break and had a spell where they were much more of a threat as the Reds twice hit the bar and had a goal disallowed.

Neither side could break the deadlock as the game headed into extra-time where substitute Jermaine McGlashan had a glorious chance but the Reds were undone by a stunning goal that put Eastleigh ahead just before ‘half-time’.

That gave Wrexham 15 minutes to save their season and although two efforts were cleared off the line, Eastleigh, who finished lower than the Reds, progressed to Sunday’s semi-final at Salford City.

Having rested key players for Saturday’s final day 2-1 home win over Harrogate with a home play-off eliminator tie already guaranteed, Hughes welcomed back his regulars for the visit of Eastleigh.

The Reds boss made eight changes to the starting XI as Rob Lainton, Kieran Kennedy, Shaun Pearson, Luke Young, Akil Wright, Bobby Grant, Stuart Beavon, and Chris Holroyd returned to the side, with Kevin Roberts, James Jennings and Luke Summerfield keeping their places.

Wrexham weathered an early spell of pressure before beginning to see a lot more of the ball and the hosts had the first sight of goal in the 10th minute when Beavon fired over the bar.

Goalkeeper Lainton, who scooped the Wrexham player of the season award at the weekend following a superb campaign between the posts, made a comfortable save to keep out Ben Williamson’s header at the other end.

Back came Wrexham and Wright pulled the ball back for Holroyd whose shot was blocked and gathered by keeper Luke Southwood.

But Eastleigh had a good chance to take the lead when a cross came in from the right and leading scorer Paul McCallum headed over from close range.

Wrexham created their best chance after 28 minutes when Lainton’s long clearance reached Beavon and the striker’s shot was well saved by Southwood.

The Spitfires stopper was again called into action to parry Young’s low drive before pouncing on the loose ball but it was an end to end encounter and the visitors then had chances of their own.

Danny Hollands’ header was saved by Lainton who then turned Mark Yeates’ effort behind for a corner.

The final opportunity of the first half fell to Wrexham, who had created little despite enjoying their share of possession, but Wright’s header from Jennings’ cross was straight at Southwood.

Wright’s drive fell wide after the restart but Wrexham received a blow when Summerfield went down injured and had to be replaced by Paul Rutherford on 51 minutes.

Wrexham almost took the lead in their next attack as Pearson headed against the bar from Young’s corner.

With the Reds upping the tempo, they forced another corner from which Kennedy slotted home but goalkeeper Southwood was adjudged to have been fouled.

Grant also flicked the top of the crossbar when Jennings cross fell to him as Wrexham continued to pressure, while there was a respite for Eastleigh but McCallum failed to hit the target.

Hughes made a second change in the 72nd minute with Jason Oswell replacing Beavon, and Holroyd had a goalbound effort blocked by a defender.

Wrexham were given a scare when Hollands’ drive was deflected narrowly wide while Grant cut inside and cleared the bar with the last chance in normal time

Eastleigh went close at the start of extra-time as Yeates picked out Chris Zebroski whose header is saved by Lainton.

Oswell couldn’t keep a header down for Wrexham and Grant appeared to have been brought down in the area but the Reds weren’t awarded a penalty.

McGlashan came on for Grant in the 100th minute and almost made an immediate impact as he raced clear but was thwarted by Southwood as a great chance went begging.

And Eastleigh took the lead in first half injury time as a corner was partially cleared and Hollands’ stunning volley from outside the area flew past Lainton.

Pearson’s header was cleared off the line by McCallum after the restart and with time running out, Roberts’ header from Young’s corner was somehow cleared off the line by Michael Green.

That was the last chance and Wrexham are facing up to a 12th season in non-league.