EVESHAM United moved into eighth place in Southern League Division One South & West thanks to a superb 1-0 victory at leaders Merthyr Town on Tuesday.
The Robins, who have now won four successive league games, became the first side this season to defeat the Welsh club on their own patch and deservedly so thanks to a solid performance, particularly in the second half.
Merthyr, who went into the match on the back of eight league wins in a row, were on top in the first half as they created the best chances, but Evesham defended resolutely.
However, in the second half, in difficult conditions with the rain sweeping down the ground, Merthyr had more of the possession without creating any clearcut chances and Evesham struck the killer blow in the 80th minute when Nick Stanley turned in a cross from just inside the area.
Paul Collicutt’s side have now kept four successive clean sheets and are just four points adrift of the last play-off place with a game in hand.
On Saturday the Robins were 1-0 home winners over Sholing despite being without a host of players through various reasons, meaning only four substitutes were named.
The visitors, the current FA Vase holders, were first to threaten but reliable United keeper Kevin Sawyer safely gathered from dangerman Jack Smith.
Evesham soon settled and went on to create the better chances in a goalless first half. Strikes by Ashley Edenborough and Adam Mann proved fruitless and then penalty shouts were waved aside when Mann took a tumble under Terry Cuthbertson’s challenge.
In the closing stages Mann got ahead of his marker but directed Elliot Kennedy’s delivery over the crossbar from close range.
Kennedy’s pace continued to give the Boatmen problems in the second half and from another teasing cross the unmarked Edenborough was at full stretch, but just failed to get a touch at the back post.
Despite enjoying large chunks of possession, United could not break down a packed Sholing defence and the longer the game went on it appeared the visitors would return to Southampton with a hard earned point.
That all changed, however, with just four minutes to go when Sean Wood’s goalbound drive struck the outstretched arm of Mike Byrne in the box and captain Matt Sysum sealed the win from the penalty spot for his fifth goal of the season and third success from 12 yards.
On Saturday Evesham visit Larkhall Athletic – currently occupying the final play-off berth – before another away game on Tuesday sees them head to Cinderford Town.