Evesham United 5 Bridgwater Town 0
Southern League Division One South & West
STRIKER Lance Smith climbed to the top of Evesham’s goalscoring charts with a brilliant four-goal blitz to demolish Bridgwater Town on Saturday and extend United’s impressive run to one defeat in 11 league games.
Bridgwater had no answer to Smith’s firepower as he moved on to 13 goals for the Robins this season to move his eighth placed side to within seven points of the play-off places.
United boss Paul Collicutt was delighted with the performance of his side in their first game of 2016 and said afterwards: “Everyone put in an honest shift in difficult conditions.
“I was pleased for Lance to get four goals but the whole side were superb, especially in the second half, and I was over the moon to keep another clean sheet.
“Goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer made some important saves at crucial times and again showed how valuable he is to the side at the opposite end of the park.”
There were more headaches for Collicutt before the game with a number of key players suspended and only three at his disposal to sit on the substitutes bench.
United, however, shrugged off their selection problems to go in front after just 13 minutes when Nick Stanley’s ball in from the left found Smith, whose first-time shot nestled in the corner of Jake Viney’s net.
Smith hit the target again midway through the half but this time an assistant’s flag cut short the United celebrations.
Sawyer then kept United’s lead intact by saving a one-on-one with Reeko Best, who against the run of play looked odds-on to pull the visitors level.
The second half was barely three minutes old when Smith pounced to make it 2-0 with another sweet finish after latching on to Adam Mann’s measured through ball.
The hardworking Smith then completed a well-taken hat-trick on 55 minutes by reacting quickest to fire home after Stanley’s curling free kick had cannoned back off a post.
In a rare Bridgwater breakaway, Sawyer showed his class by making a fabulous double save to keep out Josh Wadham, but play quickly switched to the other end and it became 4-0 in the 69th minute courtesy of Lewis Binns’ driven cross that was put away by the predatory Mann for his 12th goal of the campaign.
Momentum was well and truly with the Red & Whites and it was no surprise when goal number five arrived with five minutes to go.
Smith got on the scoresheet for a fourth time, cleverly sweeping home into an empty net with an opportunist strike from 20 yards.
There was still time for Mann to miss a golden chance in front of goal when substitute Jacob Sloggett presented the chance following neat skills and trickery by the youngster down the right.
The Robins visit Wimborne Town on Saturday before travelling to promotion-chasing Swindon Supermarine on Tuesday.