EVESHAM United gave a good account of themselves in Tuesday’s opening pre-season friendly against Newport County as the League Two side retained the Carl Lewis Memorial Trophy courtesy of a 4-2 victory at the Jubilee Stadium.
The South Wales outfit, who finished 14th on their return to the Football League last season, paraded their strongest line-up and the full-timers proved too much for a determined Evesham side who gave a good account of themselves after just a couple of training sessions.
Star striker Lance Smith continued where he left off last season by scoring both United goals before being substituted at half time and there were signs of a formidable partnership in the making with new signing Ashley Edenborough.
It took the impressive Smith just six minutes to find the back of the net, heading home Ben Evans’ left wing corner past County keeper Lenny Pidgeley.
Newport hit back as the speedy Shaun Jeffers forced Robins debutant keeper Kevin Sawyer to make a couple of excellent saves and then Rene Howe headed wide of the target from Mark Byrne’s right wing delivery.
Edenborough then went close for the hosts before Byrne levelled for the Welshmen on 32 minutes with a simple tap-in from Jeffers’ low cross.
Christian Jolly missed a golden opportunity to edge Newport in front when he pulled his shot wide when faced with only Sawyer to beat.
Howe then drove in past Sawyer following good approach play by Jolly to hand Newport a 2-1 lead on 40 minutes, but Smith bagged his second goal of the game two minutes later when he gave Pidgeley no chance with an excellently struck free kick after Evans had been impeded on the edge of the box.
Wholesale changes at half time by both sides made for a disjointed second half and it was Newport who went on to score two more goals to finally emerge victorious.
First Yan Klukowski got on the scoresheet with a low drive and then, with seven minutes to go, Chris Zebroski rounded things off by sweeping the ball home beyond the diving Sawyer.
Aaron Drake then prevented Aaron O’Connor from netting a fifth for the Exiles in stoppage time when he cleared off the line to deny the County substitute.
Evesham: Sawyer, M.Jackson, Binns, Wilson, Sysum, Dovey, Evans, N.Jackson, Edenborough, Smith, Slack; Subs: Sauntson, Wellon, Palmer, Watts, Wood, Robinson, Drake, Byliffe, Saunders, Goddard.
The Robins, who hosted Gloucester City in a friendly last night (Thursday), welcome Cheltenham Town to the Jubilee on Saturday before a visit to Ledbury Town on Tuesday.
UNITED have received home draws in both Football Association competitions.
In the FA Cup preliminary round Evesham entertain Kidsgrove Athletic from Northern Premier League Division One South on Saturday, August 30.
If successful, another home match awaits against county rivals Redditch United, who are a tier above Paul Collicutt’s side in the Southern League Premier Division. That match would take place on Saturday, September 13.
In the FA Trophy Evesham received a bye in the preliminary round and in the first qualifying round they entertain Southern League Premier Division side Banbury United on Saturday, November 1.
MEANWHILE, Evesham have signed two new players to join three of last season’s squad who have put pen to paper.
Defender Lewis Binns joins from Bishops Cleeve and striker Kevin Slack – who had a spell with the Robins in 2008/09 – arrives from Shortwood United.
From last season’s squad, winger Ben Evans, midfielder Nathan Jackson and defender/midfielder Michael Tambling have all re-signed.