Evesham United 2 Taunton Town 1
Southern League Division One South & West
THE ROBINS moved to within two points of second placed Taunton after sentencing the Somerset side to defeat in the division’s game of the day at the Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.
The victory extended Paul Collicutt’s side’s unbeaten run to eight matches and means they have now been beaten just once in 21 league games as they power towards clinching their place in the play-offs.
Collicutt kept faith with the same side that beat Fleet seven days earlier, although influential skipper Matt Sysum was making his last appearance before starting a three-match ban.
Third placed United, who gained a useful point at Wordsworth Drive earlier in the season, made the worst possible start by falling behind after just two minutes.
The visitors were awarded a corner down the left and, from Jamie Short’s flag kick, the United defence failed to clear and Steve Kingdon bobbled in a shot that took several deflections before creeping into Kevin Sawyer’s net.
Evesham, however, put the early disappointment behind them and came roaring back to level things up 15 minutes later when Lee Smith and Ashley Edenborough combined to find the hardworking Carl Brown, whose first-time shot beat the diving Lloyd Irish to make it 1-1.
That is how it stayed until half time, although Adam Mann, Smith and Edenborough all tested Irish as United finished the first half on the attack.
There was little to chose between the two sides at the start of the second half but around the hour mark Taunton enjoyed a purple patch, forcing Sawyer to make brilliant saves in quick succession from Aaron Ward-Baptiste and Graham Mercieca and then Jared Wilson was in the right place to clear off the United line from Bristol Rovers loanee Baptiste.
Play quickly switched to the opposite end where Sysum planted a looping header against a post with Irish beaten but, with 12 minutes to go, United wrapped the points up with a second goal.
Nick Stanley received a short corner on the right and drove the ball goalwards to the predatory Edenborough, who smashed home the winner into the top corner for his 15th goal of the season.
In added time substitute Lance Smith, who earlier had a free kick smartly saved by the diving Irish, went close to adding a third Evesham goal when his shot was blocked on the line, but the quick-thinking Edenborough was unable to force in the loose ball.
On Saturday Evesham travel to Oxfordshire to face North Leigh, who still have an outside chance of reaching the play-offs.