RESURGENT Evesham United made light work of struggling Bashley on Tuesday as they extended their Southern League Division One South & West unbeaten run to three games with a 5-0 win at the Jubilee Stadium.
Nick Stanley and Adam Mann both scored twice in a one-sided contest on a bitterly cold night when the convincing victory was built on a dominant first half performance that saw the Robins hold a commanding 3-0 lead at the break and go on to register successive home wins at their headquarters.
Experienced goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer returned to take his place in the United goal after serving a one-match suspension but captain Matt Sysum had to sit out the second game of a two-match ban for accumulating ten bookings.
Evesham were camped in the Bashley half from the first whistle but failed to make the breakthrough until three goals in nine minutes played a big part in settling the game in United’s favour.
Stanley got the first on 19 minutes when the midfielder connected with Kevin Slack’s corner to send a rasping shot into the roof of the net past James Lambourne and he was again on the scoresheet after 26 minutes with a sublime finish from 15 yards that gave Lambourne no chance.
A third United goal was not long coming when Mann cut in from the right and powered in an unstoppable drive to leave Bashley a mountain to climb at 3-0 down.
A second half onslaught never materialised and credit goes to Bashley for that, but Paul Collicutt’s side did notch another couple of goals that gave the final scoreline a more realistic look.
Mann went on to claim his third goal in three games since his loan move from Gloucester City with a fine strike that sailed over the head of Lambourne into the top corner and then, nine minutes from time, substitute Lance Smith got clean through and easily beat the advancing Lambourne to complete the evening’s entertainment in style.
ON SATURDAY the Robins had ended a nine-match league and cup run without a win with a 1-0 home league success over in-form Shortwood United.
The all-important goal was scored by striker Mann who found the net against one of his former clubs with just ten minutes on the clock.
Suspensions ruled out previously ever-present goalkeeper Sawyer and skipper Sysum, forcing Robins manager Collicutt to draft in 20-year-old stopper Daniel Keir from Conference North outfit Worcester City for his debut.
Shortwood, who were defending a nine-match unbeaten run, succumbed to the game’s only goal when the impressive Mann got on the end of Jared Wilson’s threaded pass and buried an exquisite finish beyond the diving Tom King.
Keir almost gifted Shortwood an equaliser when he failed to grasp Sam Rawlings’ cross but Liam Harding was on hand to deny Marley Thomas with a brave last-ditch tackle in front of an open goal.
Evesham had another let-off when Josh Egan’s free kick crashed against the crossbar with Keir beaten and then at the opposite end Wood defender Jake Lee prevented full back Will Wellon from making it 2-0 when he cleared off the line just past the half-hour mark.
Defences dominated leading up to half time with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested, but the second half belonged to Evesham who were in charge of possession and looked watertight at the back, ably led by youngster Harding who was again outstanding at the heart of the United back four.
The hardworking Ashley Edenborough, Slack and Mann all went close as Evesham continued to impress before a late rally by the visitors saw Keir save low down to gather Egan’s free kick and, despite a nervy last few moments, Harding and company stood firm to finally get a win on the board at the tenth time of asking.
Evesham, now 13th, host Sholing on Saturday before visiting title-chasing Merthyr Town on Tuesday.