EVESHAM United climbed into a Southern League Division One South & West play-off place thanks to a 2-1 home win over Wantage Town on Saturday but immediately dropped out of the top five after suffering a 3-2 defeat at Shortwood United on Tuesday.
Despite taking the lead, the Robins saw their six-match unbeaten league run come to an end as Shortwood triumphed at Meadowbank on Tuesday to leapfrog Evesham and send Paul Collicutt’s side down to seventh place.
Defences dominated in a slow start to the game but that all changed on 20 minutes when United edged in front.
Shortwood defender Matt Bennett brought down Nick Stanley on the angle of the box and Sean Wood’s flighted free kick deceived everyone and finished up in the back of Tom King’s net.
Just past the half hour mark, however, a Shortwood corner on the right was played to the dangerous Marley Thomas and his cross to the near post was headed home by Liam Meredith to make it 1-1.
Just before the break United’s George Washbourne cut inside but screwed his shot wide of the back post with keeper King beaten.
The early exchanges of the second half were even but United should have taken the lead on the hour mark when substitute Lance Smith contrived to lift the ball over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy following good work by Dan MacDonald.
The miss proved costly because Shortwood went straight up the other end and made it 2-1 thanks to Jake Lee’s simple tap-in from Thomas’ pinpoint cross.
Shortwood continued to look dangerous on the break and increased their lead on 81 minutes when substitute Joe White ran through unchallenged to fire in past the helpless Kevin Sawyer.
Evesham kept going and MacDonald’s free kick forced a fine diving save out of King before Smith did get his name on the scoresheet two minutes into stoppage time with his first goal of the season, but it was not enough to prevent the Red & Whites’ unbeaten run from coming to an end.
ON SATURDAY the Robins saw off a spirited Wantage thanks to a goal in each half at the Jubilee Stadium.
Adam Mann got the ball rolling for United with his first goal of the season inside the opening five minutes and then Washbourne capped an impressive display by adding United’s second soon after half time.
Sam Collier reduced the arrears for Wantage with 18 minutes left but United comfortably saw out the remainder of the game.
The Robins made a dream start by taking the lead in their first attack when a slick move down the right ended with Mann getting on the end of MacDonald’s inch-perfect through ball to coolly slot past Ed Cavanagh into the far corner.
Mann then went close to finding the target for a second time but, after rounding Cavanagh, he shot into the side-netting.
United had a scare on the half hour when Nick Thorne got behind their defence but pulled his shot across the face of goal with Wantage leading scorer Ben Whitehead unable to get a touch at the back post.
United increased their lead five minutes into the second half when the hardworking Mann turned provider by making ground down the left before squaring to the unmarked Washbourne who powered the ball first-time beyond Cavanagh into the roof of the net.
Cavanagh produced a superb one-handed save to push aside Matt Sysum’s goalbound header and then Wood was sent tumbling in the box but, to the amazement of the player and his team-mates, he was denied a penalty and booked for simulation.
United continued to press looking for a third goal but it was Wantage who were next to find the net through Collier’s close range header on 72 minutes, but any hopes of a comeback were ended by a confident home side.
Evesham are on cup duty on Saturday when they visit Chasetown in the FA Trophy preliminary round. Should a replay be required it will take place at the Jubilee Stadium on Tuesday.
Northern Premier League Division One South outfit Chasetown were 2-0 home winners over the Robins in August’s FA Cup preliminary round tie and have since gone on to reach the third qualifying round, in which they will host Stalybridge Celtic.