EVESHAM United are still searching for their first home victory of the Southern League Division One South & West campaign after suffering a 3-1 defeat on Tuesday at home to Didcot Town, for whom striker John Mills bagged a hat-trick.
It was a disappointing result for the Robins and boss Paul Collicutt, who relied on the same starting 11 that earned a 1-1 draw at Wimborne Town on Saturday despite the absence of several key players.
There was no sign of the frustration to come as Evesham enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges on Tuesday before going in front on 32 minutes when Ashley Edenborough provided the cross that was powerfully headed home by Sean Wood for his first goal of the season.
Mills, however, opened his account six minutes later by capitalising on poor defending to easily beat Kevin Sawyer and make it 1-1.
That is how the scoreline remained until Mills struck again 11 minutes into the second half with another precise finish beyond Sawyer into the bottom corner.
Evesham then squandered a golden opportunity to drag themselves level when Edenborough was pulled back in the box by Luke Carnell, only for Jared Wilson to have his penalty saved by James Foster.
Mills then punished the miss by completing his hat-trick on 68 minutes with a well struck drive that effectively ended the game as a contest.
Evesham rarely threatened after this, although substitute Lance Smith did glance a header off target and in added time Railwaymen keeper Foster safely gathered skipper Matt Sysum’s header but it was too little, too late as Didcot took full advantage of a below-par performance by the red and whites.
UNITED were missing eight players through injury, suspension and unavailability as they headed to Dorset on Saturday but they still returned from The Cuthbury with a point thanks to Harry Williams’ debut goal for the Robins.
A player shortage meant United manager Paul Collicutt could only name three substitutes and one of those – Nathan Jackson – was only on the pitch for six minutes before being sent off in the second half.
Wimborne, unbeaten at home this season, were under the cosh in the first half and were lucky to still be in the game at half time.
Despite a four-hour coach journey, United were first out of the blocks and deservedly took the lead on 18 minutes when Edenborough dispossessed Billy Maybury before finding Williams and the young attacking midfielder – beginning a month’s loan from League Two outfit Cheltenham Town – stroked the ball past keeper Jason Harvell at his near post.
Ian Oliver then prevented Wimborne from going further behind after the impressive Williams had rounded Harvell, only to see his shot strike the Magpies defender on the line before being cleared.
Edenborough twice, Marcus Jackson and Sean Wood all tested the over-worked Harvell but it was out of the blue when leading scorer Mark Gamble levelled the score at 1-1 with a close range finish two minutes before the interval.
The dismissal of Jackson then turned the game in Wimborne’s favour and the hosts went on to dominate the rest of the contest, but they found Sawyer in brilliant form.
The Evesham keeper made a string of outstanding saves and, together with some last-ditch defending, ensured United remain undefeated on their travels away from the Jubilee Stadium.
EVESHAM, 12th in the table with ten points from eight games when the Observer went to press, now face an exciting local derby in the FA Cup on Saturday when they play host to Southern League Premier Division outfit Redditch United in the first qualifying round.
PERSHORE Town were involved in an entertaining Midland Football League Division One game on Saturday, but it was visitors Uttoxeter Town who took the spoils with a deserved 4-1 victory to move second in the table.
Whilst the visitors were deserved winners, the scoreline flattered them as they grabbed two goals in the last two minutes. Joe Walsh scored Town’s goal with a right-footed shot into the far corner. Town travel to Bolehall Swifts on Saturday.
LITTLETON moved four points clear at the top of the division with a 4-0 victory at Atherstone Town and on Saturday they host third placed Cadbury Athletic.
All four of Littleton’s goals came in the second half, as substitute James Schembri got them off the mark before late goals from Stuart Hall and Robbie Bunn (2) clinched victory.